Desiree Williams had $600 worth of toys for her two young children on layaway at a Walmart in Manville in Somerset County.
This is her first Christmas as a widow, and she had planned to remove some items to reduce the amount of money she would be spending on gifts.
“I was trying to figure out how to pay for Christmas, it’s been really stressful with a single income,” Williams said.
But the 29-year-old woke up to an email Tuesday that a Secret Santa paid off her layaway.
A person visited the Manville Walmart and paid off a quarter of the layaways in the store, Walmart Corporate Communications Manager Charles Crowson said.
The person wished to remain anonymous, and did not want to publicize the exact amount of money given toward paying off the layaways.
“When customers quietly pay off others’ layaway items, we’re reminded how good people can be. The joy that comes from these transactions extends well beyond dollars and cents,” Crowson said.
The person covered at least six people’s layaways, including Williams’, totaling to at least $930, according to a Facebook post in a local group.
This is the latest in a string of “Secret Santas” paying off layaways. Last week, a man picked up the tab of 62 layaways at a Cherry Hill Toys “R” Us, totalling $10,780.
Williams said she didn’t believe the email was real at first, but immediately started crying once she realized a huge weight was being lifted off her shoulders.
“I can’t explain the burden it takes off of me. I was trying to come up with $600 before (Dec.) 11, but now I don’t have to worry about it,” the Manville resident said. “My kids can come downstairs on Christmas morning and this stranger helped me do that.”
Getting in the holiday spirit after unexpecetedly losing her husband in April has been difficult, but Williams said this good Samaritan is helping give her kids the Christmas they deserve, especially after a tough year.
“My kids are 5 and 3 and have no father now. I really want him or her to know what they did for me and my kids this Christmas,” Williams said. “It’s going to make this Christmas a lot easier to bear.”
She hopes the person comes forward to thank them for the “best gift I could have ever had.”
Tania Rosales, who had roughly $200 worth of layaway covered, and said she feels blessed and also hopes to find the generous donor to thank them or send a card.
Tiffany Lebouf had more than $100 of layaway orders, and said she feels “grateful that someone out of the kindness in their heart would do something like that.”
In the spirit of paying it forward, Williams plans to “adopt a child” for the holidays and donate some of the toys from her layaway.
“It’s only right for me to pay it forward and be selfless also,” Williams said. “One person can make a difference, multiple people can make a change. That’s what this person did for me.”