Secret Santa pays off strangers' layaway accounts

CHESTERFIELD, VA (WWBT) - The holiday shopping season is in full swing but for many families, it's still a struggle trying to afford toys for the little ones.

One Chesterfield woman who had her gifts on layaway got a sweet surprise when she found out a good Samaritan paid off her balance -- all but a penny of it.

Pat Martin wants nothing more than to spoil her first grandchild on his very first Christmas. Martin bought several toys for his new Toy Story themed room.

The Christmas goodies add up to about $75 and Pat had it on layaway at Walmart.

"My husband owns a local business and it's just the slowest time of the year for him, so we pretty much go on one income, so it's pretty tough," said Martin.

Martin had paid it down to about $45 but wasn't sure if she could come up with the rest in time.

"I was definitely worried about not getting it paid off by the deadline," said Martin.

But just in the nick of time, one anonymous good Samaritan came in and paid the rest of Pat's balance and the balance of others as well. There was just one condition, it had to be toys on layaway.

Walmart officials won't say how much this good Samaritan spent, but we do know about 3 families are feeling very lucky this holiday season and secret Santa are not just popping up in Chesterfield, they're popping up across the county.

Walmart officials say coast to coast, several good Samaritan have unexpectedly showed up.

K-mart shoppers have also seen their share of anonymous donors.

At a K-mart store in Indianapolis, a woman paid off the layaway accounts of up to 50 people. She even handed out $50 bills.

For people like Martin, it's a gesture she will never forget.

"Just that thank you and her request was that we pay it forward, and my daughter and I are going to honor her request," Martin said.

Pat said she and her daughter are thinking about making a donation to a homeless shelter or nursing home.

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