Layaway Angels

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COLUMBIA - Store managers said Monday an anonymous donor paid off six people's layaway bills at Sears this weekend, totaling more than $200. Manager Lisa Jansen said the donor asked to pay off layaway purchases of children's clothing and toys.

Jansen said this is the first time she's seen sign of a nationwide trend this Christmas called "Layaway Angels," where a stranger has paid for someone else's layaway purchases. Jansen said all of the recipients have been ecstatic about the news.

Kmart in Jefferson City also reported numerous people paying off layaway bills. Manager Donna Taylor said the first person came to the store on Friday to pay off the bills and three more have come in since, bringing the donations up to more than $700. Taylor said one donor came in at just the right time, only minutes before she had to put the layaway item back on the floor. Taylor said she was so excited, she called the customer at 10:00 p.m. to tell her that a "layaway angel" had paid for her Christmas gifts.

The "layaway angel" trend has spread nationally, with donors on the east coast paying off almost $9000 in purchases.