The 2016 calendar is wrong. Christmas arrived early in Springfield, Missouri, for 203 families thanks to a cashier’s check in the amount of $30,613 that was signed by “Santa Claus.”
On Monday, December 12 at 10:30 a.m., an anonymous couple visited the Kmart store and were greeted by assistant store manager Mark Winter at the layaway counter. They had talked the previous Friday when the husband called to inquire about funding every Christmas item that families had on layaway at the store. It was the first time such an incredibly generous offer had been made in the history of the 18-year-old store.
Mark was thankful to see these Layaway Angels in the store as planned. He accepted their unique cashier’s check and granted their two minor requests: to remain anonymous and that Kmart include a short card in the boxes of toys, apparel and other gifts to be picked up by the 203 customers whose layaway purchases they paid in full:
“We hope this act of kindness makes your heart a little happier, your smile a little bigger and your burden a little lighter. Merry Christmas!!!”
Over the next day, a few Kmart associates called the customers with layaway purchases to notify them a Layaway Angel had paid their purchase in full. The customers soon streamed into the store, many overwhelmed with emotion as they carried away their holiday gifts.
The Layaway Angels in Springfield are not alone. This holiday season, Kmart stores have seen dozens of other incredible acts of generosity – from $500 to $125,000. $50,000 in Wichita, Kansas. $125,000 in St. Thomas, Virgin Islands. $5,000 in Casper, Wyoming. An undisclosed amount in Ridley Township, Pennsylvania. And those are just a few that have garnered headlines. Others have gone by without ceremony but are equally appreciated by Kmart and those families that benefited.
“It’s special to see the generous charitable giving of our members who are Layaway Angels supporting other families in their communities,” said Alasdair James, president and chief member officer for Kmart. “It’s touching to see this organic movement take hold and have an impact in bringing joy to families during the holiday season. We thank all the Layaway Angels for reminding us of the true spirit of Christmas.”