Posted: Dec 21, 2012 8:28 AM by Jen Fenter
Updated: Dec 21, 2012 8:35 AM
Some shoppers in Great Falls got an unexpected Christmas season surprise on Thursday, thanks to a "Secret Santa."
One of them was Jamie Wakkinen at the Salvation Army store.
Jamie said, "I was getting ready to ring up everything and I handed her my credit card and she said, 'Santa bought this for you.'"
With eight children at home, Jamie says Christmas can be chaotic - and expensive.
She noted, "We bought stuff they needed - clothes and stuff and a craft toy. And that's about what we could afford."
And now hanks to the Secret Santa, the Wakkinen family's Christmas just got a little merrier.
And across town, others were in shock that someone was picking up the tab.
As Richard Locke and his wife went to pay for groceries at Vans IGA, the cashier informed them that the bill had already been paid by Santa.
Richard was shocked; he said, "This kind of thing doesn't happen to me. I thought I'd misunderstood what she said."
He continued, "I can't believe somebody would do something like that for me. I just couldn't believe it. It's real nice, and I appreciate it very much."
Store staff who were in on the Secret Santa say it's exciting to see the reaction from their customers.
IGA manager Wayde Anderson said, "Some people want to know what the gimmick is, what next. They don't believe it's actually a real thing. We have to explain it to them a couple times before they realize it's a Secret Santa that has paid for groceries."
It's not a common occurrence, but when it does happen, it also sparks the giving spirit for those who have witnessed the act of kindness.
Julie LaPlaunt, Salvation Army store operations manager, smiled and said, "It's awesome, I want to be that guy and spread the joy."
The Secret Santa made several other stops in Great Falls, including a gas station to fill up the tanks of unsuspecting customers.