‘Secret Santa’ paid off $50,000 in layaway balances at Walmart

Walmart store front
AP Photo/Gene J. Puskar

The holiday season has a magical way of bringing out the generous spirit in so many of us and we love finding those stories to share. After all, we can all use a little good news as we come to the end of 2020.

While Santa Claus continues to prepare for his sleigh ride on Christmas Eve, a number of people have been busy filling in as “Secret Santas” to help bring a Merry Christmas to unsuspecting people in their communities.

In Henrico County, Virginia, someone walked into a local Walmart on Saturday, Dec. 12 and paid off $50,000 in layaway items. This generous donation meant about 100 people’s accounts were paid in full and purchased items were ready to be picked up by the unsuspecting customers.


“I went to the store to pick up a layaway for my grandchildren. When I got back to the layaway department, the Walmart associate told me that a secret Santa paid off my layaway,” Felicia McKay, who went to pay $130 on her account on Dec. 12, said. “I thought he was joking. He was like, ‘No ma’am. He paid off like $50,000 of random layaways.’”

McKay, whose grandchildren range in age from 11 months to 11 years old, was “stunned” by the anonymous gift and wanted to make sure the kind man responsible got some type of recognition.

“After I got myself together, I was like, ‘Someone needs to report this to the news. Even if he doesn’t want recognition, he needs to know that somebody is appreciative of what he’s done,” she told WRIC Channel 8 News.

But this wasn’t the first dose of Christmas magic to appear. Another Secret Santa had already made a stopover in a Bristol, Tennessee, Walmart store.

On Monday, Dec. 7, someone gave a $64,995.51 donation to the layaway department. This was enough money to cover every item on the store’s layaway balance.


“I got a notification on my email that my layaway had been paid for,” shopper Lloyd Leonard told News Channel 11 WJHL. “And I thought ‘Well, that’s kind of weird.’”

When Leonard contacted the store, an associate told him the Secret Santa had a message.

“He wants me to tell you that he loves you, God bless you, and Merry Christmas,” the associate told Leonard.

Another Bristol customer, April Hilliard, was overcome by the news of her zero balance and the man’s gift reminded her of the magic of the holiday season.

“That restores my faith,” Hilliard said. “It’s like a Christmas miracle. He’s Santa, that’s what he is. He’s a Santa to everyone here.”

Good News, Holiday & Seasonal, News

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About the Author
Marie Rossiter
Marie is a freelance writer and content creator with more than 20 years of experience in journalism. She lives in southwest Ohio with her husband and is almost a full-fledged empty nest mom of two daughters. She loves music, reading, word games, and Walt Disney World. Visit Scripps News to see more of Marie's work.

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