Tyler Perry Covers $434,000 Worth of Walmart Layaways, Plus More Stars Whose Sweet Gestures Inspired Us
Tyler Perry is spreading the holiday cheer one layaway at a time.
The Vice actor shared a video on Twitter on December 6 in which he admitted he tried "to do this anonymously" but the word got out.
Perry explained that he'd paid for all the Christmas layaways at two Walmarts in Atlanta, Georgia. A layaway allows customers to reserve items at a store by making a deposit and paying the balance later at pick-up.
LeMia Jenkins, a spokesperson for Walmart, tells PEOPLE Perry paid about $434,000 in layaway items — products that were ordered by 1,500 people ahead of the holiday season.
"I know it’s hard times, a lot of people are struggling. I’m just really, really grateful to be able to be in a position to do this," Perry said in the video. "So, Merry Christmas to everybody."
To thank his fans for skyrocketing his album Astroworld to No. 1 on the charts, the rapper announced on Twitter that he had "decided to unload" $100,000 of his bank account on fans who tweeted at him with lyrics from the album. While his money certainly made a handful of people happy, it particularly touched a fan named Peter Valdriz, who had tweeted that he would use the money to help pay for his mother's funeral service.
"This would definitely help with my Mom’s funeral cost. It’s worth a shot," Valdriz wrote. Scott replied almost immediately, sending him $800. Valdriz posted a screenshot of the transaction, on which Scott wrote, "For not much but hope can help. Ur [sic] mom [shining] down on ya."
"Knowing that someone is out there trying to help us during this difficult time means the world to us," Valdriz told TMZ. "I personally want to thank Travis Scott for really making a tough day for my family into a day we can cherish."
In July 2018, a man who referred to himself as "just a guy" purchased $375 worth of groceries for Therra Gwyn Jaramillo, a freelance writer down on her luck.
Jaramillo, who in her time of need had received a Whole Foods gift card from a sympathetic friend, went to the grocery store dreaming of "hummus and fresh food," she wrote on Facebook. In line to check out, a gracious individual in front of her footed the bill, sending her into a fit of tears.
Turns out the self-described average shopper was none other than Chris "Ludacris" Bridges, Jaramillo’s cashier revealed after the rapper and actor left the store. And it was far from the first time he's done such a generous thing.
The New York Times' Jonah Engel Bromwich looked into the story and discovered over 100 posts on social media documenting Ludacris’ altruistic grocery store habits over the past few years.
Ludacris' longtime manager, Chaka Zulu, confirmed Bromwich's findings. "Funny thing. Luda does these things all the time, but he doesn’t want to do interviews to highlight it. It’s just his heart," Zulu wrote to the Times.
And he's done far more than give groceries — his actions have reminded the recipients about the power of random acts of kindness. Jaramillo was particularly struck, and has since already raised over $1,200 for The Ludacris Foundation.
Instead of throwing parties or paying for billboards in order to increase Jane the Virgin's chances at earning Emmy nominations this year, Rodriguez convinced the CW to use FYC funds to pay the college tuition of an undocumented high school student. "Our show has always jumped at any opportunity to help me do something for the Latinx community," Rodriguez told The Hollywood Reporter. "So I asked my showrunner, Jennie [Snyder Urman], if we could do something different with the money this year."
The actress partnered with Big Brothers and Big Sisters of L.A. in order to find the right scholarship applicant, and awarded a young woman who will attend Princeton University in the fall the money to complete all four years without financial burden. "It's taboo to talk about the money being spent, but it's the reality," Rodriguez said, revealing that although she's happy to help a deserving student, she was hesitant to publicize her decision.
"I think sharing this might inspire other people to do something similar. You can desire recognition and, at the same time, decide to not play in the confines of the game as it's set up."
In February 2018, the rapper stopped by the Sabor Tropical Supermarket in Miami and told shoppers via a megaphone that he'd be paying for their purchases, according to E! News. The rapper reportedly spent $50,000 on the groceries.
"No one knew he was coming at all, we just came to do groceries. Cameras were being set up so we were all wondering what was to happen," Guille Deza, who was at the store for the surprise, told the outlet.
Janice Freeman, who competed on Team Miley during season 13 of The Voice, revealed on social media that Cyrus helped her family by finding a placement until they found permanent housing, then covered the deposit and paid six months rent.
"Miley, you are my dawg, like my best friend, and I will defend you to the bitter end," an emotional Freeman said in an Instagram live video. "You got somebody that got your back."
SACHA BARON COHEN
Baron Cohen to the rescue! In November 2017, the actor volunteered to come to the rescue of six tourists in Kazakhstan, who were arrested for wearing "mankini" swimsuits made famous by the comedian in his 2006 movie Borat. The Czech tourists were arrested and fined 22,500 tenge ($68) after posing for photographs in the skimpy green one-pieces in the Kazakh capital of Astana.
Baron Cohen offered to foot the cost of their prank in a Facebook post. "To my Czech mates who were arrested. Send me your details and proof that it was you, and I’ll pay your fine," the actor and comedian wrote , directing injuries to "email@example.com."
During a Facebook Live video in November 2017, McConaughey went to the Wild Turkey Distillery and announced that he and "250 volunteers are going to deliver 4,500 turkeys to people around Lawrenceburg, [Kentucky] and the volunteers that are here don’t know I’m here, so Eddie Russell’s about to invite me on hopefully to surprise them." The day also proved to be a memorable one for the Oscar winner, whose good deed went down on his birthday.
Cruise first met Dakota Fanning — who was 11 years old at the time — when they worked alongside each other in 2005's War of the Worlds. Although it's been more than a decade since the film's premiere, Fanning recently revealed the actor still keeps in touch with the actress.
"He has sent me a birthday gift every year since I was 11 years old," Fanning said during an appearance on Watch What Happens Live. "I always think, 'Oh, when I'm 18, he'll probably stop. Oh, 21, he'll stop.' But every year. It's really kind."
Back in 2012, a reporter playfully tweeted Hiddleston, asking the future Golden Globe winner to bring him tomato soup to a red carpet they both would be attending. And guess what? The star did just that, delivering a thermos of hot soup to the reporter before their interview.
The actor attributes his kindness to having worked as a server. "It was at a showy opera festival in a barn in Oxfordshire," he told Empire magazine in 2013. "I did it for a whole summer and people would be so extraordinarily rude that it made me decide that I would never be rude in my life, specifically to people who were kind enough to serve me things."
After a fan reached out to the Jane the Virgin star on social media, tweeting that she'd love to wear Rodriguez's 2016 Golden Globes dress on prom night, the actress immediately answered. Although the star didn't have the Zac Posen number hanging in her closet, she did offer up the previous year's Badgley Mischka gown — which she wore to accept her 2015 Golden Globe award. "Maybe we can make this happen," Rodriguez tweeted before the fan followed up, suggesting they start a "Sisterhood of the Traveling Gina Golden Globes Dress." The actress responded: "I just melted. I swear I was just talking about this in the makeup/hair trailer on set."
Back in 2012, the Golden Globe winner and Oscar nominee became a real-life hero when he saved a woman from being hit from a New York City taxi. "I literally, LITERALLY just got saved from a car by Ryan Gosling. That actually just happened," British journalist Laurie Penny tweeted. "I was crossing 6th avenue in a new pink wig. Not looking the right way because I am from London. Ryan Gosling grabbed me away from a taxi."
Ask anyone in Hollywood about the Logan star, and they'll tell you that Jackman is a really nice guy — so it was no surprise when the actor opened up about his desire to get to know all the crew members on the set of 2000's X-Men.
"I thought I'd feel like a d--- if I went around and said, 'Hi, my name is Hugh, how is it going?' They'd be like 'Ummm, good'," Jackman explained, laughing. Instead, he created Lucky Friday, a weekly tradition in which the actor would hand out scratch lottery tickets to every crew member. He's kept it up during every movie he's worked on since.
Believe it or not, Lisa Vanderpump initially expressed doubts when it came to starring in Lady Gaga's "G.U.Y" music video with her Real Housewives of Beverly Hills costars. This prompted the Joanne crooner — a Bravo fan — to personally reach out to Vanderpump after hearing she had had a difficult time on the show's most recent season. "I spoke to Andy [Cohen] and said, 'I don't feel up to spending the day with these other women — they're just too mean and bitchy,' " Vanderpump recalled. "Next day, the phone rings, and a voice says, "Hi Lisa, it's Lady Gaga.' "
After meeting a couple who expressed their disappointment in Hanks' 2011 film Larry Crowne, the actor reportedly reached into his pocket to give the pair a $25 movie ticket refund.
The Oscar winner knows the struggle. "I get letters from people trying to go to drama school and needing to pay their rent," he told GQ, noting that he was fortunate enough to live with his parents post-graduation, therefore avoiding the cost of rent. "And so [giving them money is] something I occasionally do. It's impossibly expensive to live in London."