'Layaway angel' visits local woman just in time for Christmas

(WHAM photo)

It was a Christmas surprise for a local single mom who feared she'd be unable to give her kids gifts this year: A Good Samaritan brought hope back to her and her children.

For Tania McCarthy, decorating the Christmas tree this year has been bittersweet. A single mother to six-year-old Carmelo and 7-year-old Julian, she says she lost her job this summer. Then, her car was repossessed.

She didn't think she'd be able to get them Christmas gifts.

“I try not to beat myself up about it because things happen,” she said. “Just get through it and pray that next year is going to be a better year.”

Staying hopeful, she started putting gifts on layaway in November at the Walmart near her home, something that brought her joy.

“Oh yes! Carmelo will like this, Julian will love that," she said. "I just loved it.”

But then rent came up as the layaway deadline drew near.

“It was either pay the rent, or pay lay away," she said. "So, I chose to pay the rent. I went to sleep Friday night, just so depressed.”

Then, the next day, the unexpected happened. She received a text from Walmart.

“An employee said, ‘Come pick up your lay away. It’s been paid off!’” she recalled.

A Good Samaritan paid $237 in gifts.

“It was like a hot flash through my body when I got the text but I was just like, ‘Are you serious?!’" she recalled. "I was so heartbroken inside and so scared I wasn’t going to be able to come through for them. And then, an angel came through.”

Now, just weeks before Christmas, she wraps those gifts, excited to watch her boys unwrap the toys, and her heart full of gratitude for the good Samaritan she now calls her "Layaway Angel."

“It’s so important around Christmas time to feel that love,” she said. “’I’m so grateful to the person that did this. Always have hope. Don’t give up.”

The Walmart employee who accepted the lay away payment says the donor wishes to remain anonymous.

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