HUDSON, Fla. -
She could pass for just another ordinary shopper as she makes her way toward the Kmart on US 19 in Hudson.
But today, Tabitha Zemke is walking in as someone special. Someone who cares about making a difference. She makes her way to the back corner of the store--to layaway.
She announces to the clerk that she wants to make a payment.
Tabitha is helping to make Christmas merry for somebody else.
"I'm paying down a layaway payment for The Merry Elves," Zemke explains.
The Merry Elves swoop in anonymously and make layaway payments, sometimes the entire amount, for families whose layaway items look like they might make a child happy on Christmas morning.
"I think it's a very good feeling of spirit, especially at Christmas time because that is what the season is about," said Zemke.
When the unsuspecting shopper arrives, they're greeted with a hand-written note on the receipt letting them know The Merry Elves were thinking of them.
"It's a wonderful feeling to know somebody out there, that you don't know, took the time to help you out," Zemke smiled.
The Merry Elves consist of one large extended family and some of their close friends. They operate exclusively at the KMart in Hudson and shy away from the spotlight.
"We're not looking for it. We really don't want people to say, 'Ooh look, those are the people that did this.' We want people just to think that they're out there and know that it could happen and maybe they could be one of us. We want everybody to be a merry elf," said one of the family members who wanted to be known only as Denise.
The Merry Elves will be making surprise layaway payments right up until Christmas week.
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