Secret Santa visits

    The latest phenomenon sweeping the country has come to Decatur as an anonymous donor presented the Decatur Walmart store with five $100 gift cards Wednesday afternoon.
    According to Jessica Phillips, layaway manager at the Decatur Walmart, a man came into the store and said he wished to donate the gift cards to help pay for a child's Christmas. He said the cards could be used to either pay off an existing layaway account or to purchase new toys, as long as the money was spent on children.
      The man, who wished to remain anonymous, told Phillips that he makes similar donations every year, although this is the first time his donation has been at the Decatur location.
    Phillips found five layaway accounts, all containing children's toys, that were about to be returned to the shelf and contacted the owners of the accounts. Although no names were released, among those helped was a mother of three girls ranging in ages from 19 years to 18 months who was forced to cancel her layaway account due to medical bills. 
    "We were elated!  This is such a Godsend!" she said. "I just want to say thank you so much and have a blessed Christmas!"
    Greg Farmer, manager of the Decatur Walmart, said, "I think it is really great that someone would do this.  Especially in this economy .. to donate such a large amount to help children is just really great."
    The growing trend apparently began about a week ago when a Michigan woman paid approximately $500 toward three layaway accounts belonging to strangers. Since then, the mini-movement has spread nationwide, with generous donations topping the $15,000 mark.