MERIDIAN, Idaho — It is right in the middle of the holiday season, and one local secret Santa is making sure parents have something to put under the tree for their kids.
He's been surprising people and putting smiles on the faces of local families for a decade in the Treasure Valley, by paying off bills at the layaway counter at Walmart.
“I hope to inspire others,” he said.
The secret Santa wishes to remain anonymous, and doesn’t want any of the credit that comes with helping families pay off their layaway bills.
“It's not about me, it's about what I do,” he said. “It's giving and hopefully this'll inspire other people to give as well.”
For nearly a decade, the secret Santa has made his way to the layaway counter at Walmart and paid off bill after bill - some more than $200.
“I was given the money and why keep it for myself when I can make someone else's life a little nicer,” he said. "I'm hoping to help 22-23 families.”
He aims to pay off unpaid bills of orders with toys.
"Christmas morning, those families feel joy,” he said. “I got to help them do it.”
"Santa" says he does this to help the families and ensure that kids in the Treasure Valley get a gift, no matter how large or small during the holiday season.
“The parents don't have to feel like they let their kids down,” he said. “They don't have any of that shame or embarrassment.”
KTVB talked with one woman who came in to pick up her layaway items. She had purchased two Lego sets for her grand kids, and a video game.
“I wasn't expecting it, I was hoping to pay it off myself,” she said. “It was really nice that I was able to get something for my grand kids.”
The woman didn’t want to share her name, but she did have a message of thanks to the secret Santa after he finished paying off her bill.
“I want to say thank you so very much for doing this for me because I was running short on money,” she said. “I appreciate it so very much and I do believe in Santa Claus now.”
The generosity is something that catches the employee’s hearts as well.
“While he sees this as a small feat, this is a huge aspect towards our community and keeping us tight knit,” Walmart employee Desiree Groves said.
The cashier who rang up the secret Santa had a similar sentiment.
“It's always a good thing when people do try and go out and help people they don't know and care about others,” he said.
Throughout his nine years of doing this now, the secret Santa said he's helped out more than 200 families pay off layaway bills.
He paid off all of the bills at the Walmart off Fairview and Eagle, but still wanted to give more so he went to another Walmart in Meridian to continue giving back.