'Layaway Santa' pays for $20,000 in gifts at Walmart in The Villages

Modern day Christmas miracle brings Florida families to tears

By Lisa Bell - Anchor

THE VILLAGES, Fla. - A modern day Christmas miracle about a "layaway Santa" has everyone at a Central Florida Walmart telling a story that no one will soon forget.

A man recently walked into the Walmart store in The Villages and paid off more than $20,000 worth of layaway bills, bringing some families to tears.

"I can't believe (his credit cards) didn't melt he was running them so fast," said Walmart operations assistant manager Deb Davis.

Davis says in her 13 years of working for the company, she has never seen anything like it.

She says the layaway Santa wanted to help as many people as possible, so on Saturday he used his personal credit cards to pay half of every layaway balance above $200. That soon added up to more than $20,000 and helped 80 different customers.

"We've had layaway Santas that will do a couple thousand here or a couple thousand there, but $20,000 was just an amazing amount," said Davis.

Local 6 has learned the identity of the layaway Santa is Greg Parady, a local financial planner.

Parady was at Walmart buying bicycles for Toys for Tots when he decided to do a little more.

"I came back here and I saw him standing here with his credit card and he was just swiping and swiping," said Cindy Nazzaro, Parady's business partner.

"He had heard a lady out in one of the aisles talking about how she needed to pay off her layaway, but she didn't think she was going to be able to take care of all of it this year. So he just walked back here and started in, it's crazy," said Nazzaro.

Davis says several people who had items on layaway immediately started getting text messages telling them a payment had been made, while others didn't find out until days later, when they came into the store.

Davis says their reaction was amazing.

"Tears, surprise. There was one lady after she cried she had to sit down because we thought she was going to faint," said Davis. "It was a true Christmas story."

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