Bendigo Secret Santas Mysteriously Pay for 82 Families’ Lay-Bys


A little kindness goes a long way. You often hear of people sharing stories of someone buying them a coffee or anonymously paying for their parking meter if they haven’t made it back to the car in time. But this story takes kindness to a whole new level!

Nestled in Bendigo, Victoria sits a Toyworld, owned by Scott Mills. Last week a pair of Bendigo Secret Santas went into Toyworld and paid off 82 different Christmas lay-bys.

That’s 82 families who got a phone call that Christmas had been paid off for them! What an incredible gift!

While Scott knows the couple who made the large donation, they do not want the dollar amount revealed. But we can imagine it would have been a substantial amount.

Even if every family had just $100 of gifts on lay-by, that’s $8,200!

Bendigo Secret Santas described as ‘nice, hardworking people’

Scott describes the couple as “quiet and regular” and “really good, honest, nice, hardworking people”.

Scott told ABC News,

In their younger years they struggled to pay bills and always said if they got to a point in life where they were financially secure, they wanted to pay it back.

With all the bad news after COVID, they decided they wanted some good.”

Families react to kindness of strangers

As expected, the families were absolutely blown away when they heard the news that someone had paid off their Christmas lay-bys.

One family had $10 left in the bank and it was the child’s birthday next week and they couldn’t afford to buy anything, and they didn’t know what to do about it. 

When we called the father he was in tears, and someone else has now donated a dinner voucher for them.”

Other families have also spoken up about how much this means to them and how they broke down in tears when they found out.

Anthea Laurie, who had presents on layby for her three kids, said,

I was holding back the tears and trying to concentrate on driving at the same time.”

Another Bendigo mum, Rachel Woodman echoed this, explaining that she statrted to cry as soon as she received the phone call.

It’s just lovely what they’ve done — I’m just so grateful. When I put it on lay-by, I didn’t have that much money and there was a sale on, so I thought, ‘If I do it now, I can pay it off for my daughter.'”

Christmas can be financially hard for families and this unexpected gift would have meant the world to them. Anthea Laurie, who now doesn’t have to worry about paying off her Toyworld lay-by said she would be putting a toy under a Christmas donation tree.

That’s my way of paying it forward — never in my wildest dreams will I be in a position to do what this couple has done though.

With my teenager, when he’s older, I’ll be teaching him to pay it forward, even if it’s just paying for coffee for the car behind someone.”

Speaking of Christmas donation trees, the Salvation Army’s Kmart Wishing Tree Appeal is back up and running for another year. This is one of the best ways to pay it forward and provide a gift to a child less fortunate.

Kmart Wishing Tree Appeal

The Appeal is Australia’s largest and longest-running gift collection, now in its 34th year. It’s easy to get involved too – simply buy and drop an unwrapped present in any Kmart store nationwide. You can leave it at the express counter or at the Kmart Wishing Tree at the front of the store.

The gift has to be new, unopened and unwrapped. You can also make a financial contribution in-store or online. The Kmart Wishing Tree Appeal opens today and runs until 24 December.

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Avatar of Jenna Galley

Born and raised in Canada, Jenna now lives in Far North Queensland with her tribe. When the mum-of-three is not writing, you can find her floating in the pool, watching princess movies, frolicking on the beach, bouncing her baby to sleep or nagging her older kids to put on their pants.

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