Stranger pays local woman's Christmas layaway - Cincinnati News, FOX19-WXIX TV

Stranger pays local woman's Christmas layaway

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Ashley Evans had heard news reports on the radio and TV about strangers all over the country paying off shoppers' layaways, but she never thought it would happen to her.

Evans went to the Kmart on Beechmont Avenue in Anderson on Monday to cancel half of her layaway items that were gifts for her children.

Instead, a stranger named Marilyn walked up to the counter, and paid it for her.

"I can't thank her enough," said Evans. "She just totally made my two kids Christmas. We were debating on telling my 7 and 8-year-old that it was going to be a tough Christmas, but we can definitely do it now. They got what they wanted and just because of her. She's my Christmas miracle."

Marilyn paid off about $200 Evans. She also stayed and paid for other customers' balances.

At Kmart stores across the country, Santa is getting some help: Anonymous donors are paying off strangers' layaway accounts, buying the Christmas gifts other families couldn't afford, especially toys and children's clothes set aside by impoverished parents.

The benefactors generally ask to help families who are squirreling away items for young children. They often pay a portion of the balance, usually all but a few dollars or cents so the layaway order stays in the store's system.

The phenomenon seems to have begun in Michigan before spreading, Kmart executives said.

"It is honestly being driven by people wanting to do a good deed at this time of the year," said Salima Yala, Kmart's division vice president for layaway.

The good Samaritans seem to be visiting mainly Kmart stores, though a Wal-Mart spokesman said a few of his stores in Joplin, Mo., and Chicago have also seen some layaway accounts paid off.

Kmart representatives say they did nothing to instigate the secret Santas or spread word of the generosity.

Copyright 2011 FOX19. All Rights Reserved. The Associated Press contributed to this report.


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