Greg Paraday, a financial planner, went into a Walmart in The Villages, Fla., last week when he overheard a woman talking with a friend, worried she wouldn't be able to pay off her layaway account in time for Christmas.
Store employees said Paraday walked back to the layaway department and paid the woman's bill.
He then proceeded to pay off half of any existing layaway account of more than $200. By the time he was done the bill was $20,000, the Atlanta Journal Constitution reported.
"I can't believe [his credit cards] didn't melt he was running them so fast," Walmart operations assistant manager Deb Davis told WKMG-TV, Orlando.
She said the store has seen some "layaway Santas" before who come in and pay off a few accounts perhaps totaling a few thousand dollars -- but nothing ever to this level.
"We've had layaway Santas that will do a couple thousand here or a couple thousand there, but $20,000 was just an amazing amount," she said.
One woman at the store was moved to tears when she found out her account had been reduced to a level she could afford to pay, telling a clerk Paraday's generosity would make her family's Christmas celebration possible.
For his part, Paraday said he never intended to attract any attention and said he hopes what's come of his spur-of-the-moment generosity will encourage others to give in their own way.