Christmas Comes Early for Ellsworth Shoppers

John Krinjak

Updated 5 months ago

Some lucky holiday shoppers in Ellsworth received a special holiday surprise Monday, courtesy of a secret Santa.

When Alisha Pickard got a call to come in to Reny’s in Ellsworth she had no idea what to expect.

“I didn’t really know. I assumed that it was something that I had won,” said Pickard.

Turns out, her layaway had been paid off.

“It’s just so kind and generous. It’s nice to know that during the holidays people still have that Christmas spirit,” said Pickard.

Alisha says she had about $70 worth of Christmas gifts on layaway, and this will be a big help.

“I have 2 kids at home and I’m a stay at home mom and it’s hard. The bills don’t stop just because it’s Christmas,” said Pickard.

And the giving didn’t stop there. No more than 15 minutes later, Kristen Parker got her surprise of the season.

What items did Parker have on layaway? “Christmas gifts for the kids. For my 2 year old mostly,” she said.

“With two little ones at home it’s always a struggle no matter who it is. It’s nice to know that somebody cares,” said Parker.

This is the second year that Reny’s has been the backdrop for these anonymous good deeds, and Manager Josh Bickford says the kindness has now reached some 50 people.

“It was last summer we were approached by a customer saying she’d like to do this,” said Bickford.

The donor will only say she’s a summer resident, and got the idea when she saw a similar story of kindness on the news.

“She just donates 2000 dollars. She buys gift cards with them, and I hold them until November-December and we start paying off Christmas layaways. If we see lots of toys coming through, we just try to be random,” said Bickford.

Central to this secret Santa phenomenon is the idea of paying it forward-and that’s exactly what today’s lucky families intend to do.

“Whether it be a small gesture of coffee for the person behind me at Dunkin’ Donuts or paying for someone’s groceries,” said Parker.

Paying it forward and keeping the generosity going this holiday season.

“People still have that Christmas spirit,” said Pickard.