Shoppers react to ‘Secret Santa’ surprise at Oak Ridge Walmart

Tennessee News

OAK RIDGE, Tenn. (WATE) — Christmas came early for some shoppers at the Walmart in Oak Ridge.  

The company’s corporate office confirmed with WATE 6 On Your Side Thursday evening that an anonymous person paid $29,500 for the layaway balance at the store.  

It came as a surprise to shoppers who still had balances to pay off.

Heather Hicks says she thought it was a scam, or that someone had accidentally paid the wrong balance. She still owed almost $400. She says having the balance paid off gives her a chance to do something she hasn’t been able to do in years — buy her husband a Christmas present.

“I honestly hadn’t bought my husband the first thing for Christmas. And now I can buy my husband something for Christmas because I don’t have to struggle, I don’t have to worry about paying off that layaway,” Hicks said.

Lisa Seeber says when she got the text notification that her balance had been paid, she thought it was a joke. She still had a balance of $164.

“Things are always real tight for me and my husband. And I was kind of trying to figure out how I was going to pay this layaway out and then purchase the rest of the Christmas gifts that I need to get. And this really helped tremendously,” Seeber said.

Both ladies had purchased Christmas gifts for their families. Heather, for her daughter and Lisa, for her four grandchildren.

“Whoever done that, I just really am appreciative. I pray that god blesses you abundantly,” Seeber said.

“It picked me up, it filled my heart with joy. It completely put me to tears,” Hicks said.

A total of 141 layaway orders were paid off with the donation, according to a store spokesperson. Orders with toys were given first priority.  

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