Christmas is the season for giving, and the man who has been coined as “Layaway Santa” recently had no qualms about spreading holiday cheer. According to NBC News, Greg Parady, 40, walked into a central Florida Walmart and ended up becoming a “real-life Santa.” Last Saturday, Parady visited the Villages Walmart to pick up bicycles for a local Toys-for-Tots holiday drive initiated by his financial planning firm.
He stated that he overheard a woman in line verbally contemplating whether she should cancel her layaway, because she couldn’t afford it. After hearing of the woman’s financial distress, Parady, decided to take action. He requested a definitive amount for all of the layaways collectively.
The store clerk gave Parady an estimate of approximately $89,000. Parady was immediately taken aback by the staggering number of individuals struggling to make a gratuitous effort to provide Christmas gifts for their families. However, this revelation brought about the procreation of “layaway Santa.”
While he expressed that he couldn’t foot the full $89,000 tab, Parady stated that he would be able to cover approximately $21,000 of the overall layaway costs. However, “Layaway Santa” actually covered more than just layaways. He also paid for some customer purchases on the spot. When some customers approached the line with the intent of cancelling their layaways, Parady picked up the tab.
“He would swipe his card and say, “Merry Christmas,” said Parady’s managing partner, Cindy Nazzaro, 58, who accompanied him to pick up the bikes for the toy drive. “They didn’t know what was happening at first,” said Walmart operations manager Deb Davis, who was working the counter at the time. “This one girl in particular, she goes, ‘What do I owe?’ My associate goes, ‘That gentlemen right there just paid for you.'”
Parady also spoke of the woman who initially tugged at his heart strings. When the store clerk announced that her layaway had been paid in full by Parady, she immediately sat on a nearby bench and began to cry. “Every time I looked over at her she would mouth the words, ‘Thank you,'” said Parady.
Parady also shared his perspective on how the whole “layaway Santa” concept came about. “It just kind of unfolded,” said Parady. “I wandered into the layaway section and it’s kind of a depressing place… over by the bathrooms and bikes, it’s kind of a random potpourri.”
“My controller had to stay on the phone with three different banks. They would approve it, two would go through, and then the automatic system declining it,” explained Parady. “She just kept flipping back and forth, it was going for a couple of hours.”
Parady also stated that since he made headlines as “Layaway Santa,” emails of gratitude have been pouring in. He expressed his sentiments toward the publicity and notoriety for his acts of kindness.
“I didn’t intend for the attention but I hope it motivates other people,” said Parady. “I hope everyone will use it as a tool to give in their own way. It doesn’t have to be money, it can be time, or just something kind.”