Every year around Christmastime, the employees of Kmart get to witness something remarkable.
As the days creep closer to Dec. 25, they get phone calls and visits from people not wanting anything for themselves but asking to give to a stranger.
“We have numerous people come in and ask the layaway department for people who are behind on their payments,” said Philip Bentley, store manager of Kmart in Fort Walton Beach.
Folks will give $20, $40, or pay off debts sitting in layaway. Some will ask to help pay off layaways with lots of toys and others just ask to help someone who hasn’t been able to pay on their debt in a while.
“We call them our layaway angels,” Bentley said. “It happens mainly around Christmastime and I couldn’t begin to tell you how many people come in to do it. It’s been quite a few this year.”
Bentley said employees don’t make calls to inform those with items in layaway about the debt being paid off, but they do inform them when they contact the store.
On Monday morning, a woman was seen jumping up and down when she learned her items were no longer a burden for her paycheck.
“The best part of that was she turned around and asked to help pay for someone else’s layaway,” Bentley said. “It’s pretty amazing to see.”