Christmas arrived early this year for shoppers at a western Pennsylvania Wal-Mart when a "Secret Santa" paid off 194 layaway accounts worth more than $46,000.
The discount chain said a woman walked into the store in Everett, Bedford County, on behalf of a "Secret Santa" with a check to pay off the accounts, NBC affiliate WJAC reported. Everett is about 100 miles southeast of Pittsburgh.
“When customers quietly pay off others’ layaway items, we’re reminded how good people can be," a company spokesman said in a statement Friday. "The joy that comes from these transactions extends well beyond dollars and cents."
Wal-Mart said it's "honored to be a small part of these random acts of kindness."
Layaway is a popular way for financially strapped shoppers to put a deposit on their merchandise, and pay off the balance over a period of time. It's used at retailers including Wal-Mart and Kmart.
Pamela Foor said she was one of the shoppers employees called with the good news.
"Some people really needed that this Christmas and I'm just grateful and thankful that they can do that," Foor said.
Sandy Terry told CNBC her account was also paid off by the anonymous donor. Terry, who recently quit her job due to surgery complications, had put an Xbox on layaway for her 6-year-old grandson and had a $75 balance on her account. She says she was worried about not being able to pay off the balance.
"I'm just so thankful that he's going to get it this year," she said. "Thank you so much to [the person who] paid it off for me."