CHRISTMAS 2011

K-Mart layaway secret Santas paying for gifts

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OMAHA, Neb. (AP) — An Omaha woman plans to head to Kmart, even though a stranger's kindness has already helped her pay off the layaway bill she accumulated to buy gifts for her grandchildren.

(Photo: Flickr/John PIekos)

Lori Stearnes' new plan is to pay the kindness forward. She's using the money she'd budgeted for Christmas to support somebody else Friday.

At Kmart stores across the country, Santa seems to be getting some help: Anonymous donors are paying off strangers' layaway accounts.

The benefactors generally ask to help families who are squirreling away items for young children, often paying for toys or clothes.

Kmart representative say they did nothing to instigate the secret Santas or spread word of the generosity. Kmart is one of the few large discount chains that has offered layaway year-round for about four decades.

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