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Asa Padilla and her young son having fun at December's ECEC Winter Wonderland.

Secret Santa Strikes at The Pavilions

Was there a secret Santa bringing holiday cheer to The Pavilions at Talking Stick Shopping Center?

For Salt River Pima-Maricopa Indian Community member Asa Padilla, the answer is yes, there is. Thanks to the secret Santa, Christmas morning was that much brighter for the Padilla family.

In mid-December, less than two weeks before Christmas, someone paid off Padilla’s $280 layaway bill at the Toys “R” Us in the Pavilions.

“When I heard it happened, my jaw dropped and I started bawling,” she said.

The gesture came around the same time someone left a $2,000 tip on a $17.23 breakfast bill at a nearby 5 & Diner, according to ABC 15 News. It’s not clear how many layaway bills were paid, only “several,” according to ABC 15 News.

In late November, Padilla visited the toy store and placed about $300 worth of toys on layaway as gifts for her young son, thinking she’d pay off the bill with her mid-December paycheck. Unfortunately, Padilla fell ill with the flu and missed work for more than a week without paid time off.

With money tight, Padilla was set to visit the toy store on or around December 15 and pay for some of the toys and put some back. But then her phone rang. It was the store, telling her that someone, who wanted to remain anonymous, had paid off the remainder of her layaway bill.

Padilla didn’t know who it was, but she wanted to thank the person behind the welcome gesture. She did, through the media. Padilla reached out to Valley TV stations and was featured on ABC 15 and Fox 10.

“I’m truly thankful for them,” she said.