With all of the bad news out there, it’s refreshing to hear that folks are still spreading love this holiday season:

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.

Before she left the store Tuesday evening, [an] 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,” [the store manager] said. The woman did not identify herself and only asked people to “remember Ben,” an apparent reference to her husband.

And the goodwill is spreading, with dozens of Kmart stores across the country reporting that good samaritans have paid balances from $50 to $250 into the layaway accounts of struggling families, leaving a few dollars or cents left to be paid so that the goods remain in the store for pick-up. These secret Santas usually ask store personnel which accounts have been “squirreling away” payments and take it from there, hoping to help these families avoid falling behind on those payments and having the inventory returned to the store shelves.

One recipient sums the impact of these good deeds up by her ecstatic reaction upon finding out her account had been paid off by one of these angels: “We’re going to have Christmas after all!”

Read more here.

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