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The Shawnee News-Star
  • Anonymous donors pay $4,300 in layaway fees for shoppers

  • Santa Claus has been getting help from “angels” across the United States, and their latest stop may have been in Shawnee.


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  • Santa Claus has been getting help from “angels” across the United States, and their latest stop may have been in Shawnee.
    Five different anonymous donors, or “layaway angels,” have paid about $4,300 worth of layaway fees for unexpected Kmart shoppers in Shawnee, Kmart store manager Monty Swain said.
    The first “angel” paid layaway fees on Saturday, another one came into the store on Monday, and another person on Wednesday, Swain said.
    Altogether the good samaritans have helped pay on approximately 18 different accounts, Swain said.
    “It’s awesome,” Swain said. “I was wondering if we were going to have a layaway angel show up in our store.”
    The anonymous donor on Wednesday was a young female around 25-years-old that paid off 12 layaways totalling approximately $3,200. She paid for layaways for four customers that were standing in line at the time, Swain said.
    “There were tears and hugging going on and the customers couldn’t believe it,” Swain said.
    This type of charity has been spreading in different stores across the
    country. Similar stories have happened in Nebraska, Michigan, Iowa, Indiana, Missouri, Illinois and Montana, according to the Associated Press.
    Another charitable payment took place at a Kmart in Tulsa earlier this week, according to the Tulsa World.
    Other retail stores like Walmart and Target have also reported anonymous payments, but most cases have taken place at Kmart Stores, according to the AP.
    Kmart executives told the AP that the company has not had any part in the secret angel shoppers, and they also believe the phenomenon originated in Michigan.
    “It just keeps spreading,” Swain said. “I don’t remember it happening in this store before.”
    Swain has been the manager at the Shawnee Kmart for six years and has worked in retail for more than 32 years, and has never seen anything like this happen before, he said.
    Kmart has offered layaway services year-round for about 40 years.
    The program allows customers to make purchases but let the store hold onto the items as they are paid off over time, according to the AP.

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