As We See It

Kmart ‘layaway angels’ hit Las Vegas

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Spreading holiday cheer, people across the country paid off Kmart layaway accounts for complete strangers.
Sean Rademacher
Tovin Lapan

They had read about the anonymous gifting in the news and had even seen a few examples at their own store. Nevertheless, when a woman came into a Las Vegas Kmart on December 17 and donated $14,000 to pay off the delinquent layaway accounts of 60 strangers, store manager Frank Aiello got goose bumps, and another employee broke down in tears. “I’ve worked for Kmart for 42 years and I’ve never seen anything like this,” Aiello said. At another Kmart, a woman was in line to make a layaway payment when the customer behind her spontaneously offered to pay for the layaway items and the toys in her cart, as well. “The woman said normally her family would donate, but her husband had lost his job. Everyone was crying: the cashier, the two women, everyone,” Kmart associate Jene Jones said. This type of charitable holiday giving has occurred in previous years, but not to this degree, the company said. At least 1,000 “layaway angels” have visited Kmarts from coast to coast this year, and the phenomenon has proved so contagious that even some employees are giving back. “It’s been very moving,” said Aiello, who was inspired to pay off some accounts himself. “People have been coming in all day and all night. I think those who are better off, who feel blessed, realize there are others struggling and want to help.”

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