Santa Exists, Dropped $20K To Pay Off Toys ‘R’ Us Layaway Accounts

Image courtesy of Nicholas DiMaio

News stories about “layaway angels,” people who stop by a retailer’s layaway counter and pay off the balances of strangers, became very popular during the holiday season of 2011. They’ve since become a recurring tradition, and this year we have mostly heard about people spending five-figure amounts to pay off everyone’s balance in a show of generosity.

This week, staff at the Toys ‘R’ Us in Bellingham, MA had the tedious but completely amazing task of calling layaway customers and letting them know it was time to pick up their purchases: they had been paid off in full by an anonymous stranger. The benefector, who gave out plenty of hugs at the store but didn’t provide her name. We choose to believe that she is, in fact, Santa. Toys ‘R’ Us confirmed that she paid around $20,000 to close out all of the store’s layaway accounts.

While she didn’t talk to the media, one store employee says that the woman said that making sure local children would have toys for Christmas would “help her sleep better at night.” One local mother was stunned, having put $50 worth of toys on layaway for her sons and struggling to make the payments. “I almost wanted to cry. It was only $50, but to me that’s a lot of money, and that someone would go and do that gave me chills,” she told the Milford Daily News.

Santa also lives in Ohio, where a man visited Walmart and paid off $15,000 worth of layaway accounts, asking to focus on accounts containing toys or other items for kids.

Toys ‘R’ Us is a popular store for layaway angels to visit, which makes sense. Another shopper in Massachusetts paid off the accounts of everyone standing in line behind him in the customer service line, which cost about $1,500.

You don’t need massive stacks of money to play Santa if doing this appeals to you: a few years ago, one Consumerist reader declared paying off one family’s layaway account to be the best $100 she had ever spent.

Touched by a ‘layaway angel’ [Milford Daily News]

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