FEEL GOOD: South African ‘lay-bye heroes’ are buying strangers’ school clothes

Business Insider SA
(Pep Stores)
  • Generous South Africans have been settling strangers' lay-bye accounts - especially for school clothing - over recent weeks.
  • In December, an unknown benefactor apparently started the wave of good deeds by settling 363 lay-bye accounts at a single Pep store in the Western Cape.
  • Many others have now also settled lay-byes and some have chronicled their donations on the Facebook group #ImStaying.
  • For more stories, go to Business Insider South Africa's home page.

South Africans found a new way of helping others through a particularly tough “Januworry”: by settling lay-bye accounts.

A single good deed by an unknown man in December apparently started a wave of these payments.

The man donated R337,000 to settled 363 lay-bye accounts at a Pep branch in Mossel Bay, Western Cape and sent each of the people a note: “I am grateful that I’m [in a] position [to] settle your PEP Store lay-by. I know it’s up to people to help people. It’s just the decent thing for all of us to do, disregarding any religious beliefs. I also had lay-byes at PEP a long time ago.”

Since then, many others have done the same, chronicling their donations on the Facebook group #ImStaying, which now has more than a million members:

Source: Facebook

A Pep Stores spokesperson told Business Insider SA that the chain has been “overwhelmed” by the generosity of South Africans who have helped its customers to pay off their lay-byes over the Christmas and back-to-school period. The average lay-bye at Pep is R500.

“The Pep employees who took part in the transactions and contacted the customers loved the feelgood moments of conveying the good news,” a spokesperson said.

“Our customers are remarkable people who on a very small budget make it possible for their families to live with dignity and pride and lay-byes are often the only means that they can achieve this without incurring debt.”

As a token of thanks for “the amazing lay-bye heroes of South Africa”, Pep Stores has also spent R500,000 to settle a lay-bye at each of its almost 2,500 Pep, PepHome and PepCell stores.

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