MERIDIAN -- It's the holiday season and for many people that means gathering with family and presents under a Christmas tree. But, some people struggle to afford a traditional Christmas.
One Valley man is trying to make Christmas morning a bit brighter for those families.
He's a Secret Santa of sorts, asking that we keep him anonymous. After reading about "Layaway Santas" on the Internet, he decided to join in. This is the third year that he's gone to local stores and paid off layaway accounts for families who might otherwise not be able to afford gifts.
"It's the feeling I get Christmas morning when I wake up," he said. "I know children are opening presents that otherwise might not be able to, and it's just a wonderful feeling."
He and his friend Amanda save money all year to be able to do this. He knows how much it means for kids to have presents to open on Christmas morning.
"When I was six years old, I got my first bicycle," he said. "It was a green Schwinn, and oh man it was, wow. And today we got to pay off, I think it was three bicycles. So that's kind of special because I know how those kids are going to feel."
He says it's the idea of paying it forward that keeps him coming back.
"All I'm hoping is people seeing the story will do something similar, whether come and pay off kids layaway toys or Toys for Tots," he said. "But get outside themselves and do something nice for somebody else for Christmas....they'll love how they feel."
He has never met any other people who's accounts he paid off, but he hopes it will help them have a happy holiday and inspire them to do something kind in the future.
"I want them to feel good about themselves, feel good about their children," he said. "I want them to enjoy the holidays because some day they'll be in a situation where they can help somebody else and give them a hand and I hope they'll do that."
The Christmas layaway at Walmart expired Friday. The Walmart managers have to call all the people who have not paid their accounts off.
Now, they'll have seven families with a remaining balance of just one cent.