LONGMONT, Colo. — Call it a Christmas miracle.
Dozens of families in Longmont are in disbelief Friday, after a complete stranger paid off their holiday shopping bills.
It happened at the Walmart off East Ken Pratt Boulevard where an anonymous donor walked in and paid off the entire layaway section earlier this week.
“I was at work, and I got an email saying that someone had paid off my layaway,” says Lisa McMillan. “I just froze and was like oh my God, oh my God, this is not happening. I was in shock.”
McMillan is a single mother of five, and says the holidays are a financial struggle.
“This year’s been really hard,” says McMillan. “I was actually going to cancel my layaway, because I couldn’t pay it. This came as a really true blessing.”
Walmart’s layaway program allows shoppers to slowly pay off presents leading up to the holidays. The items remain in the store until they’re completely paid off.
It’s unclear just how many families this secret Santa helped out, but Walmart says the gift was worth a total of roughly $45,000 for all of the layaway items.
“I just started crying,” says Natasha Loper. “I was like, this is a miracle. There is good in this world, and people who want to help people.”
Loper says the stranger’s generosity has lifted a huge holiday burden.
“What he, or she has done has made so many children and families less stressed, and just so happy to have a great Christmas.”
Joy Deherrera says the secret Santa paid off hundreds of dollars in Christmas presents. She decided to pay it forward with the money she saved.
“The money we did save, we donated to some charities yesterday,” she says.
All involved have a message for whoever is responsible.
“Thank you for making my Christmas that much better for my family,” says Deherrera.
“They made my Christmas,” says McMillan. “Thank you.”