"Layaway Angels" pay customers' bills

LEXINGTON, Ky. (WKYT) - Lucy Grillo is one of many people who use K-Mart's layaway program to buy their Christmas gifts.

"You make payments every two weeks," she said.

But sometimes, those payments can get to be just too much.

"Someone's sick, maybe they've lost a job, just not able to make their payments," said Kim Carr, who works in human resources at K-Mart.

As Christmas started looming large, Lucy grew concerned about the hundred dollar balance on her account.

"I was kind of thinking, 'Okay, I don't know if I'm going to have enough money to get this out before Christmas, so it's going to have to wait until after Christmas,'," she said.

A phone call changed all that.

"I got a phone call from K-Mart and I said, 'Oh I know I need to come pay on my layaway,' and they said, 'Yes ma'am but when you come, you only need to pay us a penny,' I said, 'A penny? I think you all have made a mistake,',"

They hadn't. A stranger had paid all but the last penny.

"I said you've got to be kidding! This is for real? They said yes and I started crying," she said.

In all, store managers said so-called Layaway Angels paid off 20 accounts adding up to as much as $10,000.

"It's really exciting because they're not receiving anything in return for this. They're not getting a tax deduction. There's just nothing. It's just a true spirit of giving. That's very exciting to see in today's times," said Carr.

Some have even made it a tradition.

"It has doubled every year over the past three years. We've had some that maybe have lost loved ones or their grandchildren live far away, or maybe they don't have a family and this is a way that they can give to others an experience that Christmas joy,"

Lucy doesn't know who paid her bill.

"You are an angel. Thank you. You will be rewarded quite a bit," she said.

She's certainly thankful, though.

"I think God has a way of taking care of something that you don't think you can do or you don't think you can handle. This just proves to me that he put forth an angel in front of me when I least expected it," Grillo said.

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