CHARLESTON, W.Va. -- Christmas is almost here, and some area stores have been visited by layaway angels making the season merrier for those in need.
Layaway angels are people who enter a store and pay off layaway accounts, usually for customers who are purchasing toys and other items for children.
The Kmart on Patrick Street in Charleston has had visits from two layaway angels since Monday, said Billy Rasnake, store manager.
The first paid off eight accounts totaling about $1,200 on Monday, he said. The second came in Wednesday and paid off three layaways totaling about $400, Rasnake said.
Both angels wished to remain anonymous, and both paid accounts with clothing for small children and toys.
The manager expected another angel Thursday evening.
"He called us and wanted us to find some accounts that needed to be paid off," Rasnake said.
Rasnake thought this angel would pay about $1,000 worth of layaways.
Anonymous Santas also have visited the Kanawha City Kmart, said John Hudson, operations manager.
"We've had two layaway angels come in so far," he said. "One came in a few days ago and one came in last week."
Each paid about $1,000.
"It's terrific," Hudson said. "It's just great to see people do this."
The angels at Kanawha City also chose to pay accounts that had children's toys and clothes, he said.
Hudson said the store likely would not contact the people whose layaway accounts were paid, opting instead to wait for them to come in.
"We like for them to be surprised," he said.
Some families in Vienna in Wood County also were