Friday, December 23, 2011

‘Layaway angels’ descend on King’s

Accounts paid off by anonymous donors

Express Staff Writer

The Santa Claus spirit has taken over at King's department store in Hailey, leaving tears of joy in its wake. Cashiers have called 65 people since Monday to inform them that their layaway accounts have been paid off, or paid down, by anonymous donors.

King's has been visited by 25 generous donors eager to pay off accounts that are often set up months earlier to pay for Christmas presents.

"This community is amazing to me," said King's Manager Bessie Radabaugh. "A lot of people have been coming in to help people who have been helping themselves. I have had a great blessing just being able to call people and say, 'Your layaway has been paid off,'" she said.

Dubbed "layaway angels" in the national press, similar donations have been made at stores from New York to Florida and California.

Radabaugh called one woman who had toys on layaway for her grandchildren to give her the good news that the bill had been paid in full.

"She was in shock," Radabaugh said. "When she got here she was in tears and the cashiers were crying. It has been amazing to see both sides, of the giving and receiving."

On Monday, the layaway accounts at King's amounted to $5,000. By Thursday afternoon, that balance had been reduced to $1,800, thanks to the layaway angels.

"It is so generous," Radabaugh said. "They want it to be anonymous. They say they just want to help someone with their layaways. But I think it's good for them, too."

King's allows customers to put 10 percent down on purchases of any amount and make no interest payments of any amount for up to 10 months until the purchase is complete.

"It makes me sad that Christmas is coming so fast because people are getting into the spirit of giving. This is the first year that this has ever happened," Radabaugh said.

In other Christmas news:

- Webb Landscaping in Bellevue is providing free Christmas trees to needy families. Six- to 7-foot trees will be available until 3 p.m. on Saturday, Christmas Eve.

Tony Evans:

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