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ONLY ON 3: Secret Santa says ‘Pay it forward’

WILMINGTON, NC (WWAY) — Reports of “Secret Santas” paying off layaway accounts have swept across the country this holiday season, and Wilmington is no exception. We told you yesterday about a family that had their layaway balance paid off by a stranger just in time for Christmas. Now, a “Secret Santa” has come forward to tell his side of the story.

“I’ve never done anything like that before and I wanted to know if they would let me do it at the Kmart here,” our Secret Santa said.

He says the holiday spirit is contagious. After watching stories from across the country about generosity and caring, Santa decided to head to the Wilmington Kmart and see what he could do.

“It was really an amazing thing, because I didn’t expect it to be so easy,” he said. “You walk into the Wilmington Kmart, you go to the back where the layaway are. There are people behind the counter there that are helping people put their Christmas toys away, and they’ll be just as helpful for you if you want to offer to help pay off someone’s layaway.”

“Santa” says he has always believed it’s better to give than to receive, but this year he says it’s gone to a whole new level. He says when he finished paying off three Wilmington accounts, he was ready to go full of holiday cheer. Before he could leave, though, a woman who had come to the store to pick her presents up stopped him. Her account had been paid off by another considerate Kris Kringle.

“She was actually standing next to me, and she saw what I was doing, and she thanked me on behalf of the anonymous person who had paid off her toys for Christmas,” he said. “She said she was going to pay it forward. It was just one of those moments where everything just feels great. I mean, it’s such an easy way to feel wonderful during the holidays. I would really encourage anyone to do this.”

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