A Loudoun County man doesn't even know the many families he's helped this Christmas, quietly paying off their layaway debts, but this "Secret Santa" hopes his actions inspire others.
News4's Northern Virginia Bureau interviewed the man in his home. He asked that is face be silhouetted and his name concealed. Often, people being interviews ask for anonymity out of fear, but this man -- who says call him "Nick" -- isn't afraid. He's humble.
"Any investment you make in the happiness of a stranger really pays in return a hundred fold," he said.
Last week, Nick walked into the Toys "R" Us in Sterling, Va. He bought just a few presents for his own children, and dozens more for at least seven other families.
It was his second time this month paying down layaway for strangers. Why?
"I would say the bigger question is, why not?" Nick said. "I'd heard of people doing that, so I went to the manager and I asked if I could do that and they said yes and they printed out a list of people's layaway items, all the ones that were due within a week."
Nick said this was the first year he had enough money to pay off several layaway orders.
"I was surprised that a lot of those layaway items were for very small amounts; some of them were as little as $20," he said.
The message Nick wants out there: You don't have to spend a lot of money to give back.
"The dollar amount doesn't matter; it's just the act of trying to make a difference when you see somebody in need," he said.
Other shoppers said they appreciated his message. "I think I should do more things like that and thinking about giving more instead of wanting more," shopper Elizabeth Rosario said.
"This year I've carried this torch of charity and hope and love, for the greater family, all these people," Nick said. "And I would say if this story touches you then you should take up my torch, and its light will lead you off the path of cynicism and indifference, and its fire would warm your heart, and it's warmed mine."
For more on helping pay away layaway, click here.