A Secret Santa walked into a Bristol, Tennessee, Walmart on Monday and donated $64,995.51 to cover the cost of layaway items.
Shopper Lloyd Leonard told WJHL that he thought it was odd that his layaway items had been paid off, but a manager eventually let him know the story behind it.
“She said, ‘Yeah somebody came in this morning at 6 o’clock and paid everybody’s layaway,'” Leonard recalled of the manager’s message. “‘But he wants me to tell you that he loves you, God bless you, and Merry Christmas.'”
Another shopper, April Hilliard, got the same message from store management.
“That restores my faith,” she said. “It’s like a Christmas miracle. He’s Santa; that’s what he is. He’s a Santa to everyone here.”
Store manager Kris Light told People Magazine in a statement that it is “especially touching” when fellow customers pay off others’ debts over the holidays.
“We’re honored to play a small role in these acts of kindness, and we love seeing the joy it brings to our customers this time of year,” Light added.
The Tennessee donation is not the first mass donation from a Secret Santa to cover layaway items.
In 2019, a man donated $45,000 to cover any remaining layaway balances at an Anniston, Alabama, Walmart store. The man’s gift was paired with a note that read, “God loves you. Jesus paid the price,” WBMA reported.