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Tis the Season: Secret Santas Pay Off Needy Families' Layaway Bills at Local Kmart

There seems to be no shortage of depressing, if not tragic news stories circulating the wires on any given day. That is why stories like the one we're about to bring you -- especially at such a festive time of year -- are made all the more profound and heartwarming.

It all started Monday evening at a Plainfield, Michigan Kmart, when an unidentified woman paid off $500 worth of layaway bills for needy customers. The woman also donated a shopping cart full of toys to the store.

Now string of copy-cat "Secret Santas" could be on the rise.


Local NBC affiliate Wood TV8 brings us the details:

"This lady came up randomly and said, 'Can I, you know, pay off some people's layaway?'" said Dannell Goddard. Goddard works at Kmart in the layaway department. She told 24 Hour News 8 that when she first heard the request, she was a bit confused.

"I was like, 'Well, are you trying to pick them up? 'Cause you can't pick them up if you don't have an ID," Goddard said. "And [the mystery woman] replied, 'Nope, I just want to help people.'"

The woman looked through several of the about 800 layaway contract tickets at the store. She randomly picked and paid the bill on three of them. She paid about $500 between all three of them and left a $10 balance on each of the accounts.

The woman's only requirement was that there were toys in the layaway orders.

"It was really crazy the way she did it. She was so excited and so happy to do it," said Goddard. "She had a great heart, and I told her that I felt like she had a great heart, and she said she doesn't want to take appreciation for it. She just felt that she was blessed and she wanted to bless others."

One of the recipients was Mary Chapin, who told News 8 the act of kindness "restored her faith in people."

Chapin had put about $200 worth of toys on layaway for her autistic son, David, and was hoping to pay off the balance by the week before Christmas.

Needless to say, the struggling mom got the surprise of her life, when Kmart called to inform her that she only had a $10 balance left on her account.

She calls the woman "an angel."

"Even though we're all in the same boat, nobody's thinking about anyone else, it's every man for himself," Chapin told News 8. "To have somebody come along behind, and just do something that's totally unnecessary but so appreciated, it just really made a difference."

But the story doesn't end there. Just days after News 8 aired its report on the anonymous Secret Santa and "copycat" Samaritan also paid a visit to the Plainfield Kmart and settled 14 layaway bills totaling around $2,000.

The man, who also says he wishes to remain unidentified says he hopes that his copycatting will inspire other to copycat him.

In the spirit of the season, please enjoy these inspirational and uplifting clips.

WZZM talks about the copycat Secret Santa:

One last thing…
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