By Dave Crawley

WEST VIEW (KDKA) — It’s a trend this holiday season, paying off the layaway balances of complete strangers.

These “Secret Santas” have shown up all around the country, including at local stores like the Westview K-Mart, north of Pittsburgh.

Like Santa himself, it’s everywhere.

“It just came out of nowhere and exploded,” says assistant manager Nancy Badano. “It just happened where all of a sudden people want to help.”

She says the Secret Santas have become known as “Layaway Angels.”

“One couple came in, they lost family members, and in their name they took care of three layaways.”

Donors gravitate toward children’s gifts languishing on layaway.

“The gentleman on Saturday that came in to give back, as he put it – he paid off a bicycle for some child for Christmas.”

Nancy Badano said she started working at this K-Mart during the Christmas season, part-time, 24 years ago. And in all the years since, she’s never seen anything like this.

“The customers that have reaped benefit of this are practically in tears when we call and let them know that somebody paid off their layaway.”

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