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Secret Santas Pay Off N.M. Layaways

A Secret Santa and Mrs. Claus have given a dozen military families in Albuquerque a very special Christmas gift by paying off layaway lists that included toys for children.

Marie Vigil, manager of the Kirtland Air Force Base’s store, told KOAT that a retired military couple who wanted to remain anonymous walked into the base’s store over the weekend and paid off the lists of 12 families.

It’s a practice that has repeated itself across the country in recent weeks. Layaway programs allow customers to select merchandise and let the store hold onto it as they pay it off slowly over several weeks.

The Albuquerque store carries similar items to a department store, including clothing, electronics, children’s toys, housewares, cosmetics, luggage and furniture. Each family’s items ranged from $200 to $400, and the couple wrote each family a note thanking them for their military service. The notes were simply signed: Santa.

Vigil said the couple told her that they don’t have children themselves, so “they wanted to be sure that military children had a good Christmas.”

Vigil called the families with the good news, and Vigil said that several of them are passing the blessings along by using the money they saved to help others. Some of them also wrote “thank you” notes to the couple in case they ever go back to the store.

On top of paying for the layaway items, Vigil said that the couple walked up and down the aisles of the store and gave out money to families in need.

In all, Vigil estimates that the couple gave away at least $1,500.

Vigil said that in her 20 years of retail she’s never seen such generosity.