Anonymous donor pays off layaway accounts at Walmart in Hawks Prairie

An anonymous Good Samaritan has made the holidays brighter for at least 10 local families by paying off their layaway items at the Walmart in Hawks Prairie.

The donation was worth about $2,000 and went specifically toward accounts that contained children’s toys, said Chris Katchen, assistant manager of the store at 1401 Galaxy Drive NE.

At the checkout line, customers are given the option of donating to random layaway accounts. The donation came Monday on the last day layaway service was offered, Katchen said.

With layaway, a retailer will hold merchandise for a customer while that customer makes payments on the order. However, unpaid layaway orders go back to the shelves.

Katchen said this is the first time he has seen such a donation since working for Walmart.

“It really lets you know we have a great community,” Katchen told The Olympian, noting that the donor has asked for nothing in return. “It’s really a breath of fresh air.”

One beneficiary was Lacey resident Ashley Lopez, who was about to cancel her layaway order because she couldn’t afford to finish payments by the Monday deadline.

Lopez said she was shocked when a Walmart employee told her about the anonymous donation. She was buying toys for her 5- and 7-year-old nephews, her 6-year-old stepdaughter and her unborn daughter, who is due in three weeks. Her shopping list included a scooter, a Nerf bow and arrow, an Easy Bake Oven, a doll and a zombie game.

“It’s shocking that there are people in this world like that still,” said Lopez, who cried when the clerk brought out the toys. “As I am getting ready to give birth to my daughter, (the donor) took the stress of being able to get toys for loved ones in my life.”

Lopez wants the donor to know that the gift has brought her both happiness and relief.

“I’m not sure what I have done to deserve such kindness, but I am grateful,” she said. “I will be paying it forward.”