Local company pays off layaway Christmas gifts for thankful shoppers

DENVER - Dozens of families were able to put Christmas gifts under their trees, thanks to the generosity of a Denver company -- an act of kindness that was supposed to remain secret.

Rick Childs of Arvada wanted to buy a pink bicycle for his daughter, but simply couldn’t afford it.   Yet he got a surprise while standing in the layaway line at a local K-Mart store.
"Three guys come up behind me and they put the credit card on the table and said we have a better idea, they purchased the bicycle for my daughter," said Childs.

The group was from Denver based Armstrong Steel, led by CEO Ethan Chumley.

"I was a kid once and I know how great it felt to unwarp a present and absolutely lose your mind and want to do a headstand and kiss your mom and your dad," said Chumley.

"When she got up and saw that bike underneath that tree, she went over there. She threw her hands up in the air and started jumping up and down, running around.  She said 'Daddy, Santa got me the bike!' That's when I looked down, knelled down and her and said, honey, Santa really did buy you this bicycle," said Childs.

Chumley went to about a dozen stores in the Metro area, asking the store clerks to call the customers, so they knew the layaway gifts were paid off in time for Christmas.

"It's just a feeling you can't compare," he said.

Chumley’s act was supposed to be anonymous, but Childs insisted on knowing his name.

"Santa is out there.  I believe in it, kids believe in it and that's what it's really about," said Childs.

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