Gulfport woman gets Secret Santa’s help to salvage Christmas

Pass Christian Christmas layaway

HARRISON COUNTY, MS (WLOX) - Testing out the Christmas gifts is almost as fun as opening them on Christmas Day, but the prospects of that looked pretty gloomy a few weeks ago for Tori Raiford and her girls.

“I work hard for the things that I have, so it was devastating,” Raiford said.

Her car had been burglarized at her home, the trunk popped open and a whole lot of expensive Christmas gifts for her girls were stolen.

“I was wondering, ‘Why would they take a doll from a child, especially with it being close to Christmas?’” she said.

Her children were also devastated.

“They were upset, but you know, I always try to tell them that it’s not all about always about the gifts for Christmas,” Raiford said. “Being with family and helping other people out is what it’s really about.”

As bad as this was for the family, something great was about to happen just a few miles west of her home, thanks to a person they’ll probably never know.

Someone walked into the Pass Christian Walmart and paid layaway accounts for several people, including Raiford.

She missed the original good news call from the store, because she was at work.

“I had to take me a break right then and there and just call back and tell them the story that, you know, someone had just broken into my car a week earlier and stole my kids Christmas presents,” she said. “I said it’s such a blessing for someone to come in and pay my layaway.”

Manager Lynn Day said this kind gesture happens every year at her Walmart.

“And they step up and they take care of the people that really need the help, and I’m really proud to live in a community like Pass Christian that takes care of their people,” she said.

The way to thank the person, Day said, is to pay it forward.

“I think every time one of us hears that it happens, maybe we go and do the same thing. Maybe we pay the person behind us in the fast-food chain when we’re running through the drive-through,” she said. “If you watch when those things happen, and you can see the reaction on people’s faces, it’s just heartwarming.”

The bills paid for at the Pass Christian Walmart amounted to about $1,000.

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