Banner Staff Writer
Salvation Army’s Red Kettles have had “Secret Santas” drop cash donations and make challenges. This spirit of the season showed up again Thursday at Kmart.
The Cleveland store had a Secret Santa visit of its own, but this elf put a twist on charitable giving. An anonymous donor visited the merchant and paid off several thousand dollars in customer layaways.
A Kmart manager said a person entered the store and paid out $4,000 in items which had been placed in layaway by Kmart customers.
“The person apparently paid on kids’ and families’ Christmas items who need them for Christmas,” said Chester Guthrie.
Guthrie could provide no more information regarding the Secret Santa or families who got the early Christmas presents.
It was not known how the Secret Santa determined whose items would be paid out.
According to a Michigan newspaper and Associated Press reports, “The phenomenon seems to have begun in Michigan before spreading.” They attributed this information to Kmart executives.
Reports note the Secret Santas have paid layaways in a number of states.
Some have paid balances in full. Others have paid all but a few dollars or cents of the layaways.
A Twitter post on the Kmart website generated by a Kmart employee read, “We have been blown away by our customers’ generosity and holiday spirit.”
It was signed “aneverydayjen.”
This generosity by Santa has been noted since an 1897 editorial in the New York Sun asking — “Is There a Santa Claus?”
The editorial included the famous reply, “Yes, Virginia, there is a Santa Claus,” referencing then 8-year-old Virginia O’Hanlon who had asked her father the question.