Ebenezer Scrooge

December 23, 2011 by staff 

Ebenezer ScroogeEbenezer Scrooge, The Consumerist brings us the latest in a wave of recent stories about a mystery benefactor bringing holiday cheer to strangers in need.

Call it holiday cheer or call it the best bandwagon we’ve ever seen, but yet another kind-hearted consumer has plunked down cash to make the season a bit brighter for his fellow humans. A man in Laguna Beach, Calif., shelled out almost $16,000 of his own money to pay for layaway items of 1,000 Kmart shoppers.

[The donor] called up the store last week and asked if they would kindly tally up the items on lawayay that cost less than $100, reports L.A.’s local CBS news. He proceeded to send a check to the store for $15,916.61 to pay for all of the gifts on that layaway list.

The store manager had the fun job of calling up customers over the course of four days and revealing that their item was on layaway no more, thanks to the generosity of a stranger.

Even more strangers joined in the giving, donating an additional $8,000 to the Kmart to pay for more layway items.

This rash of generosity really is wonderful to see. An anonymous woman in Iowa City paid overdue water bills for 17 families. A mystery donor gave a cancer patient $10,000 to continue her treatments. And anonymous benefactors have been paying off layaway accounts at discount stores from coast to coast. This has been happening so much lately that the trend has even gotten a name: “layaway angels” or “layaway Santas.” (I like what Shane Claiborne calls it — “holy mischief.”)

This is a beautiful thing.

But then you don’t need me to tell you that this is a beautiful thing. You don’t need anyone to persuade you to admire these generous acts, or to explain to you why they are admirable, delightful and good. We all agree on that.*

We love these stories. They remind us of another story we love, a story we tell and retell year after year: the story of Ebenezer Scrooge.

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