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Wal-Mart Secret Santa strikes again in central Pa.

Written by John Latimer/Lebanon Daily News | Dec 13, 2016 12:54 PM
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Amanda Avila, one of the lucky people to have her layaway bill paid off, loads up some of her items after a Secret Santa paid off $46,000 worth of layaway bills at the Wal-Mart located in North Lebanon Township on Monday, Dec. 12, 2016. (Photo: Jeremy Long, Lebanon Daily News)

(Lebanon) -- An anonymous person with a large amount of Christmas spirit and the bank account to match paid off the layaway bills of customers at three Wal-Marts in Pennsylvania on Monday, including the store in North Lebanon Township.

This is the third consecutive year that the donor, who only identifies himself as Santa B., has paid off Wal-Mart customers' layaway bills, according to a company spokeswoman.

As he did in the two previous years, on Monday he also paid off $74,000 worth of bills at a store in Harrisburg. And on Thursday, he paid $46,000 at a store in Everett, Bedford County. That was also the amount he paid off in Lebanon - taking care of 239 customers' bills at an average of nearly $200 each - for a grand total of $166,000.

Store managers at Wal-Marts in West Manchester and Springettsbury townships said they hadn't had any strangers pay off customer layaway accounts as of late Monday.

Monday is the last day for customers to pay off their accounts in time for Christmas, said Itavia Nophlin, assistant store manager at the West Manchester location.

Officials at the Shrewsbury and Newberry township locations couldn't be reached Monday.

"The checks all came from the same individual," said Leslee Wright, senior manager for communications at Wal-Mart's headquarters in Bentonville, Ark. "We don't know who he is or where he's from. We enjoy the mystery and enjoy the excitement he brings to an awful lot of people."

Amanda Avila knows that feeling.

She was one of the lucky ones who showed up at Wal-Mart on Monday to make the final $45 payment on Christmas toys for her 2-year-old son Yonuel. Because it was the final day for payments, the layaway area was filled with people, she said.

"Everybody was just stunned," said Avila, who also works at the Wal-Mart. "We thought they were joking at first. Whoever it is is really generous. They are like the real Santa."

Not only were the customers happy, but the feeling obviously spread to the store's associates who could be overheard sharing the news with people in check out lines.

"There were a lot of tears," said one customer service employee, sharing a story about a woman taking care of her granddaughter after her own daughter's recent death. "She was just overwhelmed."

The good feelings spread all the way to Bentonville, Wright said.

"When customers quietly pay off others' layaway items, we're reminded how good people can be," she said. "The joy that comes from these transactions extends well beyond dollars and cents. We're honored to be a small part of these random acts of kindness."

York Daily Record reporters Brett Sholtis and Gary Haber contributed to this report.

 

This story is part of a partnership between WITF and the Lebanon Daily News.

Published in Lebanon, News

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