Thursday Dec 22 2011
‘Layaway angel’ visits Roseville Walmart
By: ToLewis, The Press Tribune
When Christina Lack received a phone call Tuesday evening informing her that her Christmas gifts were ready to be picked up, she thought it was a joke. The Rocklin resident and single mother had her children’s Christmas gifts on layaway at a Roseville Walmart and was not sure how she was going to be able to pay for them before the holiday. On Monday evening, an anonymous “secret Santa” made that decision for her by stepping into the store, located at 900 Pleasant Grove Blvd., and paying off the balances of all 27 accounts in the layaway department. “I’m still in shock because I really thought it was a joke,” Lack said. Lack was in the layaway department Wednesday evening to pick up the gifts for her three children and couldn’t believe that someone had paid off the $427 balance on her account. “It couldn’t have happened to someone better,” said friend Andrea Poore, of Rocklin. “It’s just tough times for everybody right now. For someone who works so hard, I’m so happy for her. I was ready to cry when she told me.” According to Walmart manager Bryan Snavely, the anonymous “secret Santa” first visited the Walmart on Lead Hill Boulevard in Roseville and paid off all of the layaway accounts at that store before doing the same thing at the store on Pleasant Grove Boulevard. Snavely did not have an exact dollar amount as to how much money the anonymous donor shelled out, but he said that it was “substantial.” “It’s been very emotional,” Snavely said. “For someone just to come in, not want any recognition whatsoever and pay off everybody’s layaway, it’s just extraordinary.” The generosity did not stop Monday. Snavely said that on Tuesday, three more people came in the store wanting to anonymously do the same thing. Walmart spokeswoman Kayla Whaling said there have been reports nationwide of these so-called “layaway angels” entering the department stores and paying off layaway accounts. “I think it is neighbors helping neighbors, people wanting to come in and renew the Christmas spirit,” Whaling said. “It warms our hearts to see people give back in this type of way.” Snavely said that this is the first time he has seen anything like this in the five years he has been working at the store. “I’d say the Christmas spirit is very alive here in Roseville,” he said. “It just blows me away, it’s awesome.” For Lack, it means her children will get the gifts they wanted for Christmas this year, gifts that likely would have remained in the layaway department until she had the money to pay for them. “I was going to do it anyway and just deal with what it was going to cost me,” Lack said. “These are my kids, you know, and so you do whatever you can.” Toby Lewis can be reached at email@example.com. Follow him on Twitter @TobyLewis_RsvPT.