CHARLESTON, W.Va. -- Even the most cynical Scrooge would find it hard to hold on to his humbug after hearing about how anonymous donors began visiting Kmart stores to pay off the layaway accounts of complete strangers.
The "layaway angels," as the anonymous donors have been dubbed, would pay off balances remaining on accounts of those who have mostly toys or children's clothing laid away.
Just hours after the initial story broke about the first layaway angels, others in towns all across the U.S. -- including the Charleston area -- began following suit.
"A single act of kindness throws out roots in all directions, and the roots spring up and make new trees," Amelia Earhart wrote. "The greatest work that kindness does to others is that it makes them kind themselves."
A few weeks back there was a story in the news about an elderly Iowa City man who accidentally donated a suit to Goodwill, forgetting that it had his life savings, about $13,000, hidden inside the pocket. According to the story, the man didn't trust banks, and his wife was undergoing treatment for stage-4 cancer.
As word about the lost donation spread, Goodwill was swamped with calls and emails from people wanting to help the man.
"It's been extremely heartwarming, the number of people reaching out to help," said Dana Engelbert, vice president of marketing for Goodwill of the Heartland. "The phone at the Moline store rang almost nonstop with people calling about it, and I've received emails from as far away as Germany."