Will a new wave a "layaway angels" hit stores this holiday shopping season?
In 2011, a trend of anonymous shoppers paying off lawaways for strangers made headlines across the United States and in the Lehigh Valley.
Layaway angels in Bethlehem last year.
Tell us if you hear any reports of layaway angels in the Lehigh Valley. Send e-mail to email@example.com.
Store managers chose layaways that were delinquent and that included children's toys, figuring the layaway angels would have the biggest impact by covering those purchases.
Managers then called the layaway customers to inform them of their good fortune.
The wave of generosity hit the Tilghman Street store in South Whitehall and a store in Quakertown, where a layaway angel gave $500 to help strangers with their purchases.
The trend may have started in Michigan in 2011. Patch first reported on layaway angels on December 16. In recent days, stories of anonymous layaway payoffs have been reported from South Carolina to Iowa and Wisconsin to California. The epidemic of giving also cheeered families in New Jersey.
Reports also came from several Walmart stores but more instances may have happened at Kmart because it is one of the few large discount stores that has offered layaway year-round for about 40 years.
Both Walmart and Kmart waived their layaway fee until Nov. 17 this year.