'Everybody was so happy and that makes my Christmas.' Walmart Secret Santa comes forward

Posted at 8:41 PM, Dec 17, 2020
and last updated 2020-12-17 20:41:02-05

(WXYZ) — We first showed you over the weekend how an anonymous woman paid for several customers at a Walmart. By the time our crews got there, we missed the generous donor, but spoke with people who were touched by her kindness.

But now we know who she is and why she’s spreading some cheer.

“My girls were going to have a small Christmas and this woman just blessed the two girls to have an amazing Christmas this year,” Tim Champlin told us.

“I said, ‘I really wish I could hug you right now. You don’t know how much of a blessing you are.’,” said Ricky Saenz.

That was the two shoppers' reaction when they were surprised by the Secret Santa at this Walmart on Saturday.

They said they didn’t know this woman, but they called her an angel. Now the mystery is over and we know who was pretending to be jolly old St. Nick.

“It was wonderful,” says Mary Burton.

She says every holiday season she tries to give back, but this year she went a step further.

Mary talked to the Walmart manager and told him she planned on surprising shoppers by paying for whatever is in their cart.

Mary spent hours wandering the store pretending to shop when she was scouting out other shoppers.

“I would hear people in the aisles talking or I hear little kids saying, ‘I want this’ and their mom said, ‘no you can’t have that,’ she says.

That’s when she would step in with her generosity and folks couldn’t believe it.

“Why are you doing this? I told them It makes me feel good.”

Mary says she remembers surprising Ricky, Tim, and their two girls.

“They couldn’t believe it and he just cried.”

When the story aired on 7 Action News, Mary’s family and friends called her to tell her about the story, not knowing Mary was the Secret Santa.

“They were saying, ‘there was a lady at Walmart buying people things. I wish I would have known it, me and my kids would have been there.’ I said, ‘wait a minute, that was me.'”

Mary spent at least $6,000 helping more than 30 families.

She’s hoping this kind gesture will inspire others this holiday season.

“Everybody was so happy and that makes my Christmas.”

And she’s not done yet, she plans on doing this again at a different store by next week before Christmas.