ATLANTA (FOX 5 Atlanta) - He is better known for playing Madea rather than playing Santa, but Tyler Perry took on the role in a big way this Christmas. And it's not coming to a theater near you! His contributions will show up under family Christmas trees in the Atlanta area.
TMZ.com broke the story Thursday afternoon reporting the Atlanta actor and filmmaker dropped more than $434,000 at Walmart stores in East Point and Douglasville, paying off layaway tabs, all except for a penny. The number of customers who could just pick up their Christmas presents for just one cent was not immediately known.
"So, I was trying to do this anonymously, but through some circumstances, nothing stays secret these days," Perry said in a video tweeted out from his official account shortly after the TMZ article hit the web. "So, I just want to go ahead and tell you, if you have a layaway at the Walmart at 844 Cleveland Avenue in East Point, Georgia, in Atlanta, or if you have a layaway at the Walmart at 7001 Concourse Parkway in Douglasville, Georgia, if you have a layaway at either place and it was in there as of 9:30 this morning [Dec. 6]... I have paid for all of your layaways for Christmas."
At that point in his video, Perry seemed to stifle a grin which ended up in a short burst of a seemingly joyous laughter before continuing with a Cheshire Cat-sized grin on his face.
"So, Merry Christmas to everybody. You got to go into the Walmart, get your layaway, pay a penny, one penny, and you get your layaway," Perry continued.
Tyler Perry's generosity in legendary in Atlanta. Just a little more than a year ago, he donated a car to a family, whose 2-year-old son was in dire need of a kidney transplant, after he found out the family had no way to get to pre-op appointments. In 2013, he donated $50,000 to a man left paralyzed after saving a 4-year-old girl from a creek in Cobb County. And recently, Perry made national headlines for offering "Cosby Show" star Geoffrey Owens an acting role after several tabloid sites on the internet shamed the actor. But those only scratch the surface of his philanthropy and we may never know its full extent.
"I know it's hard times, people are struggling, I'm just really, really grateful to be in a position to do this. So, God Bless you, go get your stuff, Merry Christmas!" Perry concludes his video.
Last month, Perry spoke with FOX 5 News Edge anchor Marissa Mitchell on the red carpet at the premiere in Atlanta of his first R-rated comedy "Nobody's Fool." He said he was rethinking about hanging up his "Madea" costume after 2019, as was previously reported the week prior. We just hope he never hangs up that Santa suit!