Many Americans were charmed when, a couple weeks before Christmas, an anonymous lady walked into a Toys R Us store in Bellingham, Massachusetts, and paid off the remaining layaway balances of 150 families. Described as a “bubbly, older woman” living in the area, she gave the store manager a hug and a $20,000 check to close all the accounts. She wasn’t the first such angel—in 2013 a Florida man spent about the same amount at a local Walmart paying off the balances of strangers.
Some of the Bellingham beneficiaries were interviewed by the local paper. Linda, who had only $9 when she went into the store to hold some toys for her two boys, had a remaining balance of just $50, “but to me that’s a lot of money, and that someone would go and do that gave me chills.” An elated Diane Brewer said the gift meant she wouldn’t have to work extra shifts during the holiday to pay for her child’s presents.
Some other beneficiaries took the counsel of the man born on Christmas day who said “lay up for yourselves treasures in heaven, where neither moth nor rust destroys.” They announced they were taking the funds they had expected to pay on their store balance and donating them to charity.