Picture this: You've been given a terminal diagnosis and have limited time left on earth. What would you do with your time? Would you have the emotional ability to think beyond yourself and your own mortality?
One woman in Aurburn, Maine, was reportedly faced with these very questions. And she made a stunning and monumentally-inspiring decision. And now shes' being called the "back to school angel" after generously paying off 16 layaway orders for struggling families at a local Kmart store.
"She was here about 15 minutes. She paid off 16 the layaways in cash, about $3,000," store manager Joyce Beane told WCSH-TV. "Then she said, 'I'm not feeling well. I need to leave.'"
The mystery woman apparently told Kmart staff members that she was extremely ill. She appaently paid off the accounts in an effort to do something good with her life before she died. Considering that the families who had layaway accounts were behind in their payments, her kind gesture was much appreciated.
One of the women who had an order on layaway was Rina Thibeau, a grandmother who works as a night janitor. Little did the layaway angel know, but Thibeau also runs a charity called Christmas Smilez -- a group that helps provide items for children in need. And she uses Kmart's layaway program to secure and purchase these items.
The angel's actions, then, will go much further than she likely realized.
"It takes all kinds of people in this world. This lady proved there are still good people out there," said Thibeau, who was clearly elated. "So many other kids, this woman is helping and she doesn't even know it. When I talk about it, It's like a dream."
The incident reportely unfolded late last month. Beane was so moved by the gesture that she told the Lewiston-Auburn Sun Journal that she "wanted to cry" after witnessing the powerful and kind act, especially since it was coming from someone who purportedly had such little time to live.
Layaway stories are common during the holiday season (although this one comes a bit earlier than normal), as generous people sometimes show up to help those in need pay off their balances. In the past, we've covered these stories. One of the most memorable was in 2011 when a man named David Wilson doled out $16,000 to pay for more than 1,000 layaway orders at a Kmart in Laguna Beach, Calif.
Featured Image Credit: NECN-TV