Walmart Shoppers Get Holiday Surprise From Tyler Perry: Debts Forgiven

On Thursday, the actor and producer Tyler Perry announced on Instagram that he would pay off layaway accounts in two stores in the Atlanta region, totaling $432,635.

Days earlier, Gayle Benson, a billionaire philanthropist and owner of the New Orleans Saints, donated $93,502 to pay off accounts for 408 customers.

Zena Williams, manager of Walmart on Tchoupitoulas Street in New Orleans, where Ms. Benson paid off debts, said one customer was so moved that “she thanked Jesus right there, giving praise at the cash register.” Others walked away in shock.

In Longmont, Colo., last month, an anonymous donor gave $45,000 to pay for layaway items, according to a local news report.

Ms. Gates told WCAX-TV, the local CBS affiliate, that she was picking up a package when she overheard the man asking if he could pay for another person’s items.

They fell out of favor in the 1980s, with the rise of easy credit, and became popular again in the 2010s when Americans suffered job losses and saw their home values plummet after the recession.

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