AMERICAN FORK, Utah - Shoppers at Fresh Market in American Fork were in for quite the surprise on Tuesday evening, after some famous Christmas celebrities showed up to spread holiday cheer in an unexpected way.
Santa and Buddy the Elf arrived at the grocery store in a light-covered "sleigh" truck, to quite the attention from kids and parents in the parking lot.
After saying their initial hellos and ho ho ho's, they went inside to give families a special gift: Paying for their groceries.
"It was totally unexpected," said Amy Wadsworth, who was so happy to the point of tears when Santa and Buddy the Elf stepped in to pay the bill.
Not only did the Christmas duo pay for groceries for several families, they threw in holiday season goodies.
"A ham, a pie, a gingerbread kit, poinsettias," Wadsworth listed off.
At one point, Buddy the Elf took over the intercom to sing to the entire store.
"I was going to start off with a song for everybody," Buddy said, launching into a serenade. "This is Buddy, and I'm singing in the store... and I'm in the store.. and I'm singing!"
The room applauded, and folks cheered.
"That's what Santa wants to see is, the sparkle in the eye just blow up," Santa said.
Wadsworth said before her grocery store trip, she'd been feeling stressed. But, after Santa stepped in, she was reminded of what's important during the holiday season.
"You kind of forget what Christmas is all about, and it's spreading joy," she said.
Santa and Buddy the Elf spent $5,000 on families between shopping at two grocery stores and footing the bill at two gas stations. They say Watts Automotive donated the "sleigh" and gifts.