Published on: December 19, 2011by Kevin Coupe
There have been a bunch of stories over the past few days about how anonymous donors are stepping up and paying off layaway accounts that consumers can’t pay for themselves. In states such as Nebraska, Michigan, Iowa, Indiana and Montana, retailers that have layaway policies - allowing people to put aside products and pay for them over time - are finding that Santa Claus is getting some help this year.
At an Indianapolis Kmart, for example, the Associated Press reports that a “woman in her mid-40s ... paid the layaway orders for as many as 50 people. On the way out, she handed out $50 bills and paid for two carts of toys for a woman in line at the cash register,” saying that she was doing in memory of her husband, who recently passed away.
And there are similar reports from a number of Walmart stores around the country.
These stories come as the AP also notes that “a record number of Americans — nearly 1 in 2 — have fallen into poverty or are scraping by on earnings that classify them as low income.
“The latest census data depict a middle class that's shrinking as unemployment stays high and the government's safety net frays. The new numbers follow years of stagnating wages for the middle class that have hurt millions of workers and families.”
When I read these various stories over the weekend, I thought about the opening moments of Love Actually, my favorite Christmas movie, in which Hugh Grant (portraying the Prime Minister of the UK) speaks as the audience watches a variety of people interacting at Heathrow Airport...
Whenever I get gloomy with the state of the world, I think about the arrivals gate at Heathrow Airport. General opinion's starting to make out that we live in a world of hatred and greed, but I don't see that. It seems to me that love is everywhere.
Often it's not particularly dignified or newsworthy, but it's always there - fathers and sons, mothers and daughters, husbands and wives, boyfriends, girlfriends, old friends.
When the planes hit the Twin Towers, as far as I know none of the phone calls from the people on board were messages of hate or revenge - they were all messages of love.
If you look for it, I've got a sneaky feeling you'll find that love actually is all around.
Not only do you find it at Heathrow Airport, but at layaway counters in places like Nebraska, Michigan, Iowa, Indiana and Montana. And I have a sneaky feeling you can find it in a lot of other places as well...
- KC's View: