'Secret Santas' pay off layaway balances

Credit: Zach Stotland/ KTVB

'Secret Santas' pay off layaway balances

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by Stephanie Zepelin

Bio | Email | Follow: @ktvbstephanie

KTVB.COM

Posted on December 7, 2012 at 2:04 PM

Updated Thursday, Dec 5 at 2:18 AM

MERIDIAN -- Christmas is less than 20 days away, and this is a time of year when we are reminded of the needs of others. Thursday, we went to Walmart with two folks who are not just buying gifts -- they're giving them.

These folks were headed to the Wal Mart layaway department. It is usually a place where toys are held like captives until the buyer can pay their bill. However, the gifts one man came to pay off were not for him. He's a secret Santa, paying off layaway balances for people he's never met.

To keep his secret, we cannot show you his face.

"Last year it was $1,100, and this year it'll be $1,500," he said. "What I get is what I feel inside, and that's wonderful. And the people that receive it, what they feel inside, because they know somebody cared."

He started doing this last Christmas. He is retired, but works part time just to earn money for his Secret Santa shopping. He even got his friend involved.

"It pulls you out of your normal everyday thought pattern into really what the holiday is about and that's giving," she said.

For her, it hits home. Until she met this Secret Santa, she was living on the street.

"I've been homeless. I know what it's like to be in need, be in want. And I know what it's like to not have a Christmas," she said.

With her help, this Santa gets enough money to help someone else have a present to open on Christmas morning.

"That's the nicest Christmas present -- now I get is that feeling Christmas morning, when I know that other kids and other kids are going to have a nice Christmas, and that I was part of it," he said.

On Thursday, they went to two Walmart locations and paid off seven layaway accounts. However, they are not done for the season yet. Saturday they plan to pay off a couple more. They hope to be able to spend even more next Christmas.

The deadline for Wal Mart's layaway program is December 14th--that's next Friday. So if you'd like to be a Santa too, you have one week to join this season of giving.

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