A RANDOM act of generosity has this week reinforced the true meaning of Christmas among the Bunbury community.
On what seemed to be just another day at the Bunbury Forum's BIG W, staff members Sarah Tyler, Nicole King and Kelsey Wilson did not expect a strange request at their layby counter by a gentleman who looked to be in his 60s.
"The customer just came up to me and said he wanted to make a payment on some laybys," Ms Wilson said.
"I didn't really get it at first when I asked him for a name and he said he didn't have one."
The gentleman, who BIG W staff said didn't want any recognition for his good deed, revealed he wanted to put $500 towards paying off existing customers' laybys, confessing he had "had a good year" and didn't have "anyone to buy Christmas presents for".
Once handed a list of layby numbers with their totals, the gentleman chose five laybys to pay off at random, in between "cursing" that he had forgotten his glasses.
Ms Tyler said the five laybys chosen were all made around July for the store's annual toy sale, ranging from $90 to $170 in total.
The gentleman ended up paying off around $750.
If the man who paid off my layby is reading this, I just want you to know that we are super grateful and appreciative."BIG W customer Ashleigh Martin
Ms King said when she called each of the five customers to tell them the good news, their reactions were "total disbelief".
"Everyone was just ridiculously amazed that someone had done this. I think I cried during every phone call I made," Ms King said.
"After another difficult year, not everyone has had the best of times with missing family and being unable to work, so it's so nice to give someone good news.
"He just walked in as he walked out, totally unassuming. It really puts you back into a spot where you can say okay, what can I do now? How can I help someone?"
Ex-Bunbury resident Ashleigh Martin, who now lives in Esperance, said when she got the call from BIG W, she assumed it was because of missing her last few payments on her layby.
"But then the staff member [Ms King] said that a good Samaritan had come into the store and had asked to pay some money off of random laybys, and mine was one of them," Ms Martin said.
"Obviously Christmas comes with stress about money, so we are so, so grateful. Both my husband and I work full-time, but I'll be on maternity leave soon, so that will change our income a bit."
Ms Martin said through the good gesture, her family were making it their mission to do little things for people and help "pay it forward".
"If the man who paid off my layby is reading this, I just want you to know that we are super grateful and appreciative.
"It was a great learning experience not only for me, but for my kids in particular, that there are people out in the world that do stuff like this."
"Thank you so much."