BALTIMORE (WJZ)– It’s an early Christmas for dozens of Baltimore-area families as several Good Samaritans have paid off their layaway bills.
Andrea Fujii has more on the nationwide trend that’s come to Maryland.
They’re called the Layaway Angels. Friday, seven of them visited three different Kmarts paying off bills.
A room at Kmart stores thousands of holiday gifts, waiting to be paid for through the department store’s layaway program.
Now, many area families can pick them up free and clear because of someone else’s generosity.
“So we did about 20 total layaways today, taken off for customers that had fallen behind who couldn’t pick up their layaways,” Kmart manager Jon Konicki said.
At the Parkville store, three different so-called Layaway Angels came in to pay off hundreds in unpaid bills.
Konicki helped the anonymous donors.
“They pretty much just wanted to come here and make sure kids in the area had a good Christmas,” he said.
Similar acts of kindness are happening across the country.
In Ohio, Tiffany Mesaros’ layaway gifts were paid off by a total stranger.
“Oh, I was crying! I was crying because I was so happy and people don’t do that nowadays,” she said.
Kmart representatives insist they didn’t start this trend. They say it’s been word of mouth.
Whatever the reason, local shoppers say it’s great.
“It’s exciting, especially for the little kids because that’s what Christmas is all about,” Kmart customer Claudia Pawlak said.
“With the economy the way it is now, everybody’s having a hard time, so that’s a blessing,” Yvette Hodges, a layaway customer, said.
And many of the struggling families don’t yet know their worries are taken care of.
“I’m excited for them to come in and see that this had been done for them,” Konicki said.
When some of the Layaway Angels left, they said they’re telling their friends to do the same thing.
The Good Samaritans seem to be visiting mainly Kmart stores, but there are reports of similar events at Wal-Marts, as well.