Secret Santa Pays Off Layaway Items

After an especially challenging year, Dori Cambell has a hard time expressing the extent of her gratitude

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    NEWSLETTERS

    There are lots of good people out there this time of the year, but a secret Santa has made this Christmas one a Joliet woman will never forget. (Published Thursday, Dec 22, 2011)

    There are lots of good people out there this time of the year, but a secret Santa has made this Christmas one a Joliet woman will never forget.

    After months of darkness Dori Cambell thought it would be a long time before she saw light until this week. She is battling lupus and recently spent three weeks in the hospital battling pneumonia.

    To make matters, worse she came home and found an eviction notice from her apartment.

    "I can't say the worst year of my life, but financially it has been very very bad," said Cambell.

    To illustrate, she showed off a photo of her oldest son who died suddenly two and half years ago. It wasn't until this year that she was finally able to pay off his gravestone.

    When she got out of the hospital with little money, she headed to Toys R Us with three people in mind: her grandchildren.

    "My first thing was I gotta get the grand babies presents. That's all i kept thinking of," she said.

    She had items on layaway and was deciding what items to put back on the rack when the store manager told her a secret Santa was picking up the tab for the clothes and toys she wanted for her grand kids.

    "The cashier woman was like holding my hands because I was shaking so bad because this has never happened to me before," she said.

    Campbell never found out who payed for her gifts, but he spoke with NBC Chicago.

    He doesn't want people to know who he is because, he said, that's not the point. He said it's about helping those during this time. Not only did he pick up Campbell's bill, but he picked up the bill of seven other people in need.

    All he wants is for other people to do the same, he said.

    "The smallest amount of money or the simplest act of kindness really goes a long way and could change somebodies entire season and even their life," said the secret Santa.

    Cambell had a hard time expressing the extent of her gratitude.

    "Who ever that person is out there,  I want to thank them so much because now I do have something to give my grand babies for Christmas," she said.

    In addition to picking up the shoppers' tabs, the secret Santa also gave them $100 cash.

    Similar secret Santa stories have been reported around the country in recent weeks.