My immediate thought when I saw that headline on Drudge was "this is because of Glenn Beck." Did the idea originate with Glenn? No. Did Glenn give this idea publicity? Absolutely. Are Glenn's listeners playing a part in this phenomenon? Common sense leads me to believe that they must be.
Here's Glenn discussing the idea on his radio show on Thursday, December 15, 2011.
Good samaritans, or "angels" as some recipients refer to them, have been busy all across the nation helping nameless, faceless strangers by paying the balance on their layaway account. Are they all listeners of Glenn's? I doubt it. Some of them may have never heard his name. But, I'm familiar enough with Glenn's listeners to know what kind of people these are and because of that, I'm comfortable in stating that several of these "secret Santas" were most likely inspired this Christmas season by Glenn Beck.
Fla. Secret Santas help pay off Christmas layaways
MIAMI -- Across Florida, secret Santas are bringing some extra holiday joy to families by paying their layaway bills for Christmas toys.Read more HERE.
From Hialeah to the Panhandle, unsuspecting families are getting phone calls or arriving at the layaway counter to find out their bill has been paid. At a Kmart near Orlando, one man helped pay the bills of more than 50 families. At a store in Pensacola, good Samaritans have helped nearly a dozen.
"People cry," said Wally Silvagnoli, the store manager at a Kmart in Winter Garden. "It touches your soul."
Managers at several stores across the country have reported a wave of generosity as anonymous donors come in wanting to help pay layaway bills. Florida has been no exception: Store managers say more families are using layaway to pay for gifts bit by bit as they struggle to make ends meet, and good Samaritans are stepping in to make sure the toys end up under the tree.
"People feel good about doing something good for someone else, and it's really catching on," said Alba Strong, manager of a Kmart in Hialeah.
Strong called up three families this week to let them know an anonymous donor had paid their layaway bill. One didn't believe it and hung up. The other two were ecstatic.
"They're like, 'Really? Who did that?" Strong recalled. "They were really shocked."
Wilmington good samaritan pays $400 worth of layaway bills at Kmart (Video included)
WILMINGTON -- A Wilmington good samaritan decided to help out struggling families when he paid $400 worth of unpaid layaway bills at a local Kmart Friday. Paulusco said he was inspired by a story from another town about someone doing the same thing and just wanted to help out needy families.Read more HERE.
He paid off bills for about nine people in total. He tried to pay the entire costs but was forced to leave at least one cent as a remainder.
Secret Santa pays off Hayward Kmart layaways
A Secret Santa sent ABC7 proof of his good deed.Read more HERE.
"At first he called and said that he was going to come in and he wanted to pay $10,000 on delinquent kids' layaways," said Darlene Beverly from Kmart. "And we didn't quite believe him at first and then he actually came in with $10,000 cash and he paid of everybody's layaways, everybody's layaways, that we delinquent and mainly kids and toys. That's what he wanted."
He cleared that list, but when you pay off a bill, the items disappear, so a small fee had to remain.
"We can't completely just wipe it out, we have to leave it at one penny. So when everybody comes to make their payment, it's just one penny, that's it," said Beverly.
So strange, it was hard to stay calm.
"I almost started crying. I was surprised like, 'Wow, for real? Because right now we have five kids, so right now this was like a blessing," said Hernandez.
Nebraska, Michigan, Iowa, Indiana and Montana.
Anonymous donors pay strangers' layaway accounts
A similar random act of kindness happened at a Kmart in Indianapolis, where a young father wearing dirty clothes and worn-out boots, stood in line at a layaway counter alongside three small children.Read more HERE.
He asked to pay something on his bill because he knew he wouldn't be able to afford it all before Christmas. Then a mysterious woman stepped up to the counter.
"She told him, 'No, I'm paying for it,'" recalled Edna Deppe, assistant manager at the store in Indianapolis. "He just stood there and looked at her and then looked at me and asked if it was a joke. I told him it wasn't, and that she was going to pay for him. And he just busted out in tears."
Before she left the store Tuesday evening, the Indianapolis woman in her mid-40s had paid the layaway orders for as many as 50 people. On the way out, she handed out $50 bills and paid for two carts of toys for a woman in line at the cash register.
"She was doing it in the memory of her husband who had just died, and she said she wasn't going to be able to spend it and wanted to make people happy with it," Deppe said. The woman did not identify herself and only asked people to "remember Ben," an apparent reference to her husband.
Deppe, who said she has worked in retail for 40 years, had never seen anything like it.
"It was like an angel fell out of the sky and appeared in our store," she said.
Good Samaritans paying off layaways for strangers at local Kmarts
The practice -- at Kmart and a few Walmarts nationally -- received press Friday after a number of recipients of the layaway Good Samaritans in the Midwest shared their stories. Yet even before the story hit the national air waves, folks in Oregon were giving.Read more HERE.
On Friday morning, two different people came in to pay off strangers' layaways at the Tualatin Kmart, two others visited the store in Northeast Portland.
Secret Santas Pay Layaway Accounts at Local K-Mart
The movement has reached the K-Mart in Hamilton, New Jersey in which more than a dozen layaway accounts have been paid in full by Good Samaritans, according to the store’s manager.Read more HERE.
“The range actually varies from $30 to over $1000,” said Ivan Collazo. “You have customers coming in paying multiple layaways for customers.”
While Collazo claims the store still has a layaway balance of over $20,000, he’s still amazed by the massive showing of generosity.
Plainfield Township, MI
Secret Santas pay strangers’ layaway bills at Kmart
Christmas came early for three people in West Michigan when a stranger picked up the tab on some presents.Read more HERE.
It happened Monday night at the Big Kmart on the 4000 block of Plainfield Avenue in Plainfield Township. A woman, described only as "being in her 30s," walked up to the layaway desk, pushing a shopping cart full of toys she planned to donate.
"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 800 or so 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 of that kindness was Mary Chapin. She told 24 Hour News 8 the act of kindness "restored her faith in people."
Merry Christmas, everyone. The giving season has definitely arrived.
If you wish to be notified of my future blog posts, please subscribe to my blog via the "Follow by email" box near the top of this page. I will not see your email address, or even if you subscribed. You will NOT be spammed. If I make 10 posts in one day, you'll only receive ONE email. Thanks!