Dec 14, 2011 7:56 PM by Jill Valley (Missoula)

Mystery Santa pays off some Missoula Kmart layaway accounts

MISSOULA - A stranger walked into Kmart in Missoula on Tuesday and guaranteed a Merry Christmas for dozens of people by paying off the layaway accounts for several families that were late in their payments.

Layaway department worker Brenda Warren said, "He walked in and wanted to pay on some layaways and I asked him, 'Which ones?' He said (ones) that weren't going to have Christmas and were late on their payment. I'm like, 'Really?' I thought maybe [he'd] just pay off one or two, but then he ended up paying the whole list, so it was just amazing."

Warren then got to call those customers to tell them they had things waiting for them at the store. She tells us most were excited and some shocked, and one man even hung up on her.

But she says the best part was telling a mother who was in Seattle at the children's hospital with a sick child that Christmas was waiting for her at home.

"She was so excited and yelling at the nurses about it. It was fun," Warren told us.

The generous stranger ended up shelling out more than $1,000 for presents for people he didn't even know.

The mystery man said he was visiting from Michigan, where he recently made a similar stop at a Kmart.

He said he doesn't have any family, and playing Santa makes his Christmas for him.