'Secret Santa' pays off layaway bills totaling $35,000 just in time for Christmas

Posted at 9:05 PM, Dec 14, 2016
and last updated 2016-12-15 06:09:05-05

TULSA— More than 160 families got a surprise just in time for Christmas as a secret donor paid off their layaway bills.

The donor stepped up and made the donation on the deadline to pick up layaway from Walmart. If the bills weren’t paid, the items are returned to the shelves and customers got refunds on what they already paid. But Wednesday at one south Tulsa Walmart, that didn’t happen.

The secret donor paid off about $35,000 worth of gifts. The donor’s generosity brought one woman to tears. She’s not even among the 162 families whose layaway bill was paid. She’s here with a friend, picking up gifts for her grandkids.

“It's amazing, it’s great to see especially when there's kids out there that that don't have anything,” Leeann Powell said.

For Arlene Casey, there's a sense of relief the bill was paid. But  at the same time, she’s worried about her 63-year-old son.

“The ambulance was taking him from the V.A. clinic,” Casey said.

Uncertainty— over her son and the father of her four young grand kid— who’s been battling health problems recently.

“His lungs he's got COPD, he’s been real bad we just got him out about a week ago,” Casey said.

Even as life’s other problems tug at Arlene, the secret Santa passed a message along through the Salvation Army.

“They just want to say there are people that care you're not by yourself we want to help to get through a good holiday,” said Captain Ken Chapman with the Salvation Army.

As Arlene and her friend make their way outside with the Nerf guns for her grandkids— in the season of miracles— another bit of good news.

“Oh thank God he's not going to the hospital,” she said.

The news from the doctor was not as bad as first feared, giving Arlene another reason to be thankful this holiday season.

This is the third consecutive year the anonymous donor paid off the bills at the Walmart at 71st and Lewis.

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