Mystery benefactor pays off Toyworld’s entire lay-by balance
A MYSTERY Gympie man who signed off as "Santa" when he deposited a five-figure sum into the bank account of Gympie's biggest toy store this week has paid off the entire lay-by balance owed by 70 Gympie families.
The incredibly generous gesture is the stuff Christmas movies are made of, and has touched the hearts of the Mary Street Toyworld owners and staff, and left parents in tears as they discover their hefty Christmas lay-bys paid in full.
Staff member Peta Caldwell took the phone call on Monday, and was so busy with the sudden Christmas rush she took the mans details and promised to call him as soon as she had a moment, not knowing what it was he was calling about.
"I thought it was someone doing a survey on how many lay-bys we had in the store," she said.
That day was Peta's birthday, the mystery benefactor's birthday, and the 47th wedding anniversary of Gympie Toyworld owners Roger and Lorraine Broadely.
When Peta rang him back the next day she could not believe it.
"He said 'my wish is that this will spread'," Ms Caldwell said.
The man, who specifically asked that his identity not be revealed nor the sum of money he paid, said he was inspired what what had happened recently at a toy store on the Gold Coast, where three women had done the same thing, paying off the lay-by balance.
Mr Broadley said that when the money was deposited in the bank, it was deposited as "Santa Clause".
Customer and mother of three Kahlee Randell had three lay-bys with Toyworld for Christmas this year, and two early birthdays. All three have been paid off.
"Peta rang me directly to tell me what had happened and I promptly burst into tears," Kahlee said earlier today.
"I could not believe someone would do that. I was up last night looking at all my dockets wondering how I was going to budget to pay some of the lay-bys off. It is just beautiful.
"What a beautiful person to do that; to take the pressure off families - the stress has just immediately gone."
Kahlee says with the financial pressure eased on her family, she now can't wait to pay it forward.
"I am going to find the right person and the right thing and I am going to pay it forward," she said.
"I am pretty sure he is the real Santa."
Kahlee says she only ever shops for birthdays and Christmas as Toyworld as it was localn and friendly.
"You walk in there and you feel like you are welcome - the kids can touch things and look at things and everyone is so friendly."
Toyworld Gympie posted this earlier today:
"What an amazing day yesterday at TOYWORLD GYMPIE!!
'IF YOU HAVE A LAYBY with us, a very pleasant SURPRISE awaits you.
'To spread goodwill in this weird, COVID year, an anonymous benefactor paid off the Layby balances for our loyal customers, a hugely- generous gesture.
'His wish - that we all spread GOODWILL to our family, friends and strangers. So, Gympie, let's join in this spirit of good cheer, especially to those whose world may have been turned upside down."
Here are some of the heartwarming comments made underneath the post:
Wendy Manning: Definitely brought a tear to my eye when I went to pay some off my lay-by yesterday! I will be paying this forward. There really is good in this world! feeling very thankful.
Michelle Jones: That is truly amazing. What a wonderful person
Hayley Smith: That's amazing! a truly selfless act of kindness that will make such a difference for so many families.
Kat Fincher: That's wonderful to hear! I know someone did the same at Toyworld Burleigh last week.
Robyn Smith: Thats amazing made my day. What a legend
Rachel Louise: That is such wonderful news to hear and so incredibly inspiring
Angie Treichel: Just incredible. What a wonderful person to do this