Several local families learned in recent days that they no longer have to struggle to pay off their layaway debts for Christmas gifts in time for the holiday — "layaway angels" have stepped in to give them a most merry Christmas.
“There had been five or six different people that have come in and had asked if we could find layaways that had children’s toys and children’s clothes in them that they could pay off,” assistant store manager Michael Olsen, of Middle Island, said Wednesday.
The “angels” have paid off layaway debts for about 30 families, nearly every outstanding layaway in the store, he said.
Olsen estimated they contributed between $2,500 and $3,500 total, but they aren’t looking for a pat on the back. “Every one that I have taken payments from has insisted that they remain anonymous,” he said.
The Christmas cheer the angels bring to struggling families has spread to the store employees as well, Olsen said. “All the associates are just excited and thrilled …” he said. “We get to call the customers and tell them they can pick up the layaway.”
The charitable movement appears to have started in Grand Rapids, Mich., according to news reports, where a woman wishing to remain anonymous paid off the layaway balances of three accounts at the Grand Rapids Kmart.