Bank Branches, NFL Player, Random Strangers Keep Paying Off Layaway Tabs

Image courtesy of dan

Stories of layaway angels, or ordinary shoppers who pay off strangers’ layaway tabs in the weeks before Christmas or the beginning of the school year, proliferate in the news at this time of year. They make the legend of Santa Claus—someone who gives gifts while asking for nothing in return—literally come true.

Earlier this season, the now-famous but still anonymous “Santa B” spent more than $50,000 at one Pennsylvania Walmart store, continuing his generosity streak from past years.

The movement has become more organized in recent years, with a 501(c)(3) organization forming for people who want to buy gifts for strangers, but also get a tax deduction. The organization pays off layaway tabs of customers that include children’s items who have been making payments, choosing recipients at random at retailers across the country.

Pay Away The Layaway teamed up with NFL free agent Darrin Walls in his hometown of Pittsburgh to pay off accounts at Burlington Coat Factory. “I had a good Christmas most of the time, so families that didn’t, I kind of felt bad for them,” he told Trib Live. “When I heard this organization existed, it was a no-brainer for me.”

Another organized campaign put together by Iberia Bank paid off a total of $2,500 at stores across the Tampa area. One branch manager put down $900 at an area Walmart, saying that the experience gave him “a great sense of giving back.”

Anonymous individuals, of course, are also busy paying off layaway tabs across the country. A California woman couldn’t afford the toys that delighted her grandchildren, so she put them on layaway.

She was fearful when Toys ‘R’ Us called her up, worried that her balance would come due and she would lose the battery-powered scooter and robotic puppy.

Instead, they told her that the her balance had been paid off by a stranger who had paid two other accounts off at the store that day.

“They’re going to be so excited because they don’t ask for much,” she told CBS Los Angeles.