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Patrick Springer, Published December 22 2012

‘Layaway angels’ pay for items at Kmart

FARGO – Yes, Virginia, there is a Santa Claus. And sometimes, he can be found at the layaway counter at Kmart.

This year, in fact, several generous “layaway angels” or “Secret Santas” made very discreet appearances to pay for toys and children’s clothes on layaway lists.

Anonymous contributions were made in amounts of $200 or $500, dropped off as cash or a cashier’s check bearing no name.

But one gift, made Thursday, was especially generous – a contribution of $3,000, said Nick Bosh, manager of the Kmart at 2301 S. University Drive.

“This act of kindness is huge,” Bosh said Saturday. “Absolutely huge.”

Kmart customers can arrange to put an item on layaway for Christmas for up to 12 weeks.

The phenomenon of donations from “layaway angels” began at the Kmart in south Fargo last year. Thursday’s gift ranks as the largest so far.

“I want to make absolutely crystal clear that we do not know these people at all,” Bosh said.

The response is often emotional when customers come into the store after learning that some anonymous, kind-hearted person paid for their child’s layaway gift.

“I’ll be honest with you,” Bosh said. “A lot of times they probably wouldn’t have got that layaway item. That really hits home.”

Bosh finds the acts of generosity uplifting.

“This speaks very, very kindly of the Fargo-Moorhead area,” he said. “It brings back the meaning of Christmas. It’s just a huge, huge act of kindness.”

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Readers can reach Forum reporter Patrick Springer at (701) 241-5522