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Secret Santa pays off $79,000 worth of Walmart layaway bills

By Ben Hooper Contact the Author   |   Dec. 16, 2015 at 11:41 AM

HARRISBURG, Pa., Dec. 16 (UPI) -- Customers at a Pennsylvania Walmart have a reason to be merry this Christmas after an anonymous Secret Santa paid $79,000 toward strangers' layaway bills.

Christy Evans, manager at the Walmart in Harrisburg, said a man identified only as "Santa B" paid $79,000 at the layaway counter to clear out the remaining balances for dozens of shoppers still working to pay off their holiday gifts.

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"Today was definitely a big deal," Evans told WHTM-TV.

Evans said the anonymous payment was the largest pay-it-forward donation the store has seen. She said customers coming in to make payments reacted with shock to the news.

"It's a lot of mixed reactions," Evans said, "Complete relief to customers just breaking down and crying." Tracy Folks, a shopper whose layaway was one of those wiped out by Santa B, said she has had a "rough" year and was going to cancel her layaway until her mother called to tell her about the generous gesture.

"And I started crying right away on the phone," she said.

Thomas D. Etzle Jr., another customer whose debt was wiped clean, said this was his first year using layaway because he recently lost his job.

"It may not have been a large layaway but to truly feel the Christmas [Spirit] is PRICELESS," Etzle wrote in a comment on the Middletown Residents United Facebook page.

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