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Merry Christmas from "The Layaway Angel"

Updated on December 17, 2015

One Difficulty Goes Away

Someone took the time to drop in on two Ohio Walmart stores recently, spreading holiday cheer by paying off the stores' entire layaways. Someone must be aware of the economic troubles that the people who live near these two Walmart locations are experiencing. Someone thought to spread a little holiday cheer to the tune of $106,000. I typed it correctly. One Hundred and Six Thousand Dollars.

Steelyard Commons in Cleveland's Tremont area had about $70,000 in layaway to be paid off and the store in Lorain had about $36,000 still owed. The Cleveland location has people that are not as fortunate financially as some nearby suburbs. As for Lorain, it is a depressed economic city that still holds up the rear for all of Lorain County in per capita income, despite having US Steel still operating there. It is a city that has been in sharp decline for many years. How happy do you think the people are that unexpectedly had no layaway debt to pay off?

A Pleasant Reminder

Wyatt Jefferies, a Walmart spokesman said; "Christmas is a time of year when people go above and beyond to give back to their neighbors and communities. When customers anonymously pay off others' layaway items we're reminded of the amazing things people will do to support each other."

That is something that seems so obvious to us now, once the deed was done. Yet how many of us, including myself, have thought of reaching out to help others? I mean the people who need help but can't or are to proud to ask for help.

That is not the only act of kindness. A man, known only as "Santa B," paid off about $180,000 of layaway items in two Walmart stores in Pennsylvania, according to Jefferies. He went on to say that in Florida, $200,000 was paid off by the same anonymous donor on Monday. It was a $100,000 donation at each of two Walmart stores down there.

Must Be Nice

It must be nice to have the kind of money that would allow a person to do this. But even if we all had that type of money, would we all have that same generosity? Would we all feel the spirit of Christmas move us? If you said yes then remember, it's not always money that we have to offer. I don't have financial means to pay off a Six Figure layaway. But I do have a mouth, two hands, two ears, a heart (my wife might say huh?) and can still see with the aid of my goggles.

So I can talk to others who need companionship or might need a morale boost for that day.I could offer to carry an elder's packages to their car after a long day shopping. I certainly can just listen to a person who needs someone that they can talk to...someone that cares what's going on so that they don't feel alone. I can express sympathy and offer support to those going through a tough time. I can still read to someone that no longer can or hasn't yet learned how to read.

The idea is to be willing and able to help, however it is you can. It may be cliche, but if every person did just one nice thing to benefit another, what a wonderful Christmas this could be.

Trickery or Thoughtful?

If I didn't know better, I'd start to suspect that the Walmart corporate management decision makers just might have "helped" these Layaway Angels of mercy with a bit of a cash allowance so that they could make other people's Christmas that much merrier.

And so what if that was true. Walmart got some needed good publicity at a bargain price compared to what normal marketing costs can be. They also added to the mystique and magic of the Christmas season and perhaps entice shoppers to shop there. But most importantly, some people received some unexpected help financially. Everyone benefits from this. And if this truly is a couple of good hearted souls with deep pockets and a heart of Gold, thank you. Thank you for making this a better world than it was yesterday.

Thousands of candles can be lighted from a single candle, and the life of the candle will not be shortened. Happiness never decreases by being shared.

— Buddha


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