Families are showing up to pay off their final layaway balances this Christmas Eve only to find an anonymous person has paid off their layaway account for them.
Kmart started seeing these so-called layaway angels a few years ago and the movement has grown nationwide.
Thousands of dollars has been paid on layaway accounts at the Donelson Pike Kmart where families were picking up layaway items to wrap for Christmas morning on Tuesday.
Marsha Tracy was picking up gifts for her grandchildren.
She found out Monday night that someone paid the remaining $250 she owed.
“I would just say thank you so much,” she said. “It has made our holiday because we have been scraping money together for two weeks to get this stuff.”
Tracy had children's clothes, toys and a Wii gaming console. Her layaway angel left a note on the receipt, asking that she pay it forward.
“We went last night and spent $100 on another family who wasn't having a Christmas,” she said.
Kmart soft-lines manager Paul Gourley told News 2 this year more layaway angels have come in, spending around $10,000 as a whole, almost double from last year.
One man spent $1,400 Monday to pay off several layaway accounts.
Kmart identifies layaway accounts they will allow strangers to pay off by looking for children's clothes and toys.
The retailer allows anonymous donors to pay off layaway accounts all year long, but the store sees the majority of them during the holiday shopping season.
“It is really joyful watching the customers,” Gourley said. “Some of them start crying.”
So far this year, $57,000 nationwide has been paid in anonymous layaway donations.
Kmart takes anonymous layaway payments all year long.