Santa Claus visited Tennessee several weeks early this year!

An anonymous shopper came into a Walmart in the city of Bristol on Monday and donated $64,995.51 to pay the balance of items placed on the store's layaway, a spokesperson for Walmart confirms to PEOPLE.

Shopper Lloyd Leonard told CBS/ABC affiliate WJHL that he initially thought it was "weird" that he got a notification that his items had been paid off, but a manager soon let him know about the magic behind it.

"She said, 'Yeah somebody came in this morning at 6 o'clock and paid everybody's layaway,'" Leonard recalled of the manager's message. "'But he wants me to tell you that he loves you, God bless you and Merry Christmas.'"

Never miss a story — sign up for PEOPLE's free daily newsletter to stay up-to-date on the best of what PEOPLE has to offer, from juicy celebrity news to compelling human interest stories.

Anonymous "Santa Claus" Surprises Customers by Paying Off All Layaway Items at Vermont Walmart

Another shopper, April Hilliard, got the same message from management, and told WJHL of her reaction, "The emotional type that I am, I just broke. I just started crying."

"That restores my faith," she continued. "It's like a Christmas miracle. He's Santa, that's what he is. He's a Santa to everyone here."

Store Manager Kris Light tells PEOPLE in a statement, "It's especially touching when customers pay off others' layaways during the holiday season and serves as another example of the generosity our customers show year-round."

"We're honored to play a small role in these acts of kindness and we love seeing the joy it brings to our customers this time of year," Light adds, while a rep for Walmart tells PEOPLE that the donor's primary motive "was to positively affect as many people as possible."

The Tennessee instance is only the latest example of Walmart layaways being paid off by generous, anonymous "secret Santas" in recent years over the holiday season.

In 2019, a man made a donation at a Walmart in Anniston, Alabama, handing over about $45,000 to cover any remaining layaway balances, Walmart spokesman Casey Staheli confirmed to PEOPLE at the time. The man's gift was accompanied by a note that read, "God loves you. Jesus paid the price," according to ABC affiliate WBMA.

"We see it quite frequently around the holiday season," Staheli said at the time. "There's a lot of kind and really generous people who make a difference."

Meanwhile, in the nearby city of Oxford, an anonymous donor paid off the remaining $25,000 in layaway balances at a different Walmart, the Anniston Star reported. It was unclear if the money was donated by the same man.

Source: Read Full Article