Has life been good to you? Have you been successful?
And if you haven't been successful yet, do you hope to be?
Because once you've had a little bit of financial success in life, you can get great satisfaction from performing small acts of kindness for those who haven't been as fortunate.
That's what I'd like to think was going on in this story. A man in a New England Patriots jacket at a Walmart started paying off other customers' layaway items.
Thousands and thousands of dollars' worth, apparently, at the Walmart in Derby, Vermont.
The thing is--he apparently wanted to stay anonymous. But after he paid off one woman's purchases ($199 worth of Christmas gifts she was buying for her son), she took his picture.
She posted it to Facebook. It's truly gone viral. She wrote about what happened:
The most amazing thing happened today.... I was at the Walmart in Derby, Vermont grabbing a Sim card I had shipped to the store. The line to pick up seemed incredibly long, I heard people ahead of me saying that someone was paying for everyone's layaways.
The man asked if I was putting anything on layaway and I told him that I was but first needed to pick up my package. He told me to hurry and grab some stuff for Owen and come back. I grabbed some toys for him for Xmas and came back to customer service where the man was standing waiting for me and said just go to the check out and he'd be right over to pay.
Sure enough I rang everything up totaling $199 and he paid with his card!!
I asked him what his name was and he said Kris Kringle and walked away. The only picture I got was of him walking away!! Anyone that had a layaway at the Derby Walmart should call and check. I think he paid them all!!!! I just wanted to say thank you again to this mystery man!!
The photo is from the back. You can see his Patriots jacket (this is New England after all). You can see that he's wearing glasses. He's white, probably middle-aged.
I'm not going to embed his photo right here. It's all over social media. The woman who posted it has more than 2,500 reactions and more than 1,200 shares as I write this. You can check it out at the woman's link, above, if want to see what he looks like.
But wait. Maybe you don't want to see.
Maybe this story is more powerful if you don't actually know what the man looks like.
Maybe his story is more powerful if you fill in the details yourself.
Is he an entrepreneur who's had success and likes to spread joy before Christmas? (I like to imagine that's the case--and also that he's the kind of person who reads Inc.com.)
Is he just a kind person who likes to give back to people who are less fortunate than he is?
He chose well. With all due respect, if you're putting stuff on layaway at Walmart, you're probably not wealthy. And the people he helped out were grateful.
"I thought it was a rumor," another local resident told a Vermont TV reporter. "There were people ahead of me who were [getting] $800, $900 layaways."
That's potentially thousands of dollars, paid off in one small chunk after another, by a man who didn't want anyone to know what he was doing.
Or at least not know his name.
It's a Christmas miracle, some say. But it's even more of a miracle if you leave it alone and just choose to believe.