Secret Santa Gifts $15K To Pay For Strangers’ Walmart Layaway Items

It’s that time of year again, when generous folks around the country pop in to their local retailers and plunk down a pile of cash to make strangers’ holidays happier by paying for their layaway purchases. This time, some secret Santa in Ohio left a substantial $15,000 gift under shoppers’ trees.

“Don’t say miracles never happen,” says one customer who had her layaway purchases at a Moraine, OH, Walmart paid for by the mysterious benefactor. “Whoever did this, they’re great.”

The surprise was even sweeter for her family as it comes shortly after her husband had been laid off from his job. They decided the safest route was to put Christmas gifts for their grandkids on layaway until they could pay for them.

Then someone who didn’t want to be identified offered to pay off $15,000 worth of layaway purchases.

The Walmart manager tells WDTN-TV that others have paid off layaway bills for strangers at the store before, but never in this amount. He describes this anonymous donor is “Just someone wanting to do that for someone they don’t know, it’s more the spirit of Christmas.”

In this case, the secret Santa told the manager that they wanted the money to go primarily toward toy purchases and other gifts for kids.

We’ve always been curious how someone could try to ensure that their generous gift isn’t just going to pay off TVs or other big-ticket purchases that shoppers are making for themselves. And the manager tells WDTN that “There’s a computerized process we can do where we can put in certain parameters and pull those layaways forward.”

One shopper had her grandkid’s bike paid for by the gift.

“There’s an angel out there,” says the shopper. “We’re so appreciative. It’s awesome. I actually cried. It’s amazing.”

While $15,000 is a significant chunk of change — and can buy an awful lot of gifts — it’s not the largest one we’ve written about. In 2011, when these “layaway angels” began showing up everywhere, a California man paid nearly $16,000 for shoppers’ purchases.

And then a year ago, an anonymous donor in Florida paid $20,000 to brighten up the holidays for Walmart shoppers.