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Man pays off thousands in layaway for families in Whitehaven

by: Greg Coy Updated:

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More than a hundred of Mid-South families were brought holiday joy a little early. 

A successful businessman with ties to Memphis decided to give to some families in Whitehaven.

Steve Bryson was raised in Nutbush.

"We were dirt poor. Somebody made fun of me once I posted my old house on Facebook and they said you shouldn't make fun of people’s houses and said that was mine,” Bryson said.

After serving in the Army, Bryson married up in life, started two successful businesses in California but remained charitable to Memphis.


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On Monday, he and his wife Samantha reached out to Walmart to help 135 families in Whitehaven who had layaways for holiday gifts.

Bryson offered to pay off balances of those customers. Corporate was grateful but skeptical.

"An hour later I received a phone call from an operational marketing specialist who that took care of southern Memphis who wanted to know "a" are we for real and "b" what did we want.  We said we just wanted to help out and do this for you guys."  (Steve) People get a little weird when you tell them you don't want anything," said Samantha Bryson.

This was no cheap feat. It cost the Bryson's about $30,000, and the people receiving their generosity may never get a chance to thank them.

"I have been doing it since I was 24 years old. I believe if I don’t keep giving I don't have any right to have anything myself," Steve Bryson said.

Make no mistake, life is good for the Bryson's, and it is not about material possessions.

"My kids are all doing great. Life is pretty good. Grandchild is beautiful as the day is long. We have been blessed beyond imagination," Steve Bryson said.