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Tyler Perry pays off layaway for 1,500 Walmart customers: 'It's hard times'

The "Madea" star coughed up more than $400,000 to give more than a thousand strangers a Christmas surprise.
/ Source: TODAY

Tyler Perry is making sure more than a thousand strangers will have a very merry Christmas.

The actor and director revealed on Instagram that he paid off all the items people had on layaway at a pair of Atlanta-area Walmarts as a Christmas surprise.

"I know it's hard times and a lot of people are struggling," Perry said in the video. "I'm just really really grateful to be able to be in a situation to do this. So God bless you. Go get your stuff."

The "Madea" star paid for all items that were registered on layaway through 9:30 a.m. on Thursday, telling people they only had to pay one penny when they went to pick them up.

Perry, 49, covered the layaway costs for about 1,500 people, Walmart Director of Media Relations LeMia Jenkins told TODAY. He spent about $434,000, the Associated Press reported.

"Tyler Perry’s generous donation is making an unbelievable difference for so many families, and we can’t thank him enough for his kindness,'' Walmart said in a statement to TODAY. "The heartfelt excitement and joy we’re seeing from our customers as a result of his holiday gift has been touching."

The Christmas spirit is in the air at Walmart, as Perry's announcement came a day after Gail Benson, the owner of the New Orleans Saints, paid off 408 layaways totaling more than $100,000 at a Walmart in New Orleans.