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Bellevue CEO pays off Walmart layaways for 110 Washington families

(AP)

Christmas is often recognized as the season of giving, and one local CEO based out of Bellevue took that to heart recently, when he paid off the layaways for 110 families in Washington.

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Aegis Living CEO Duane Clark may not want for much now, but he’s never forgotten where he came from.

“I grew up in a very modest family, [with a] single mom,” he told KIRO Nights host Gee Scott. “We were often poor, and the one thing that we used to do is put things on layaway.”

That gave Clark the idea to engage in a random act of holiday kindness, paying off all the layaways for families at a pair of Walmart locations in Walla Walla and Kent respectively.

Beyond that, he noted the need for some positivity in a combative political climate.

“The overwhelming news is not good,” he noted. “If this could put a smile on someone’s face, this can motivate someone to do something not necessarily something with money, help their neighbor take out their garbage, bring someone a cup of coffee, whatever it is, that’s the motivation.”

This isn’t the first time Clark has done something like during the holiday season either. Just last year, he tipped $3,000 on a $40 bill at Bellevue cafe.

“It’s gotten a lot of press and that’s not my motivation,” he said. “I think sometimes you just got to recognize great people. If there was a movement I could launch, it’s the random act of kindness movement.”

For the rest of us not on a CEO’s salary, Clark hopes that he can inspire others to do something similar and give what they can.

“I’m blessed because I have resources that I can do some things that are unusual, but we can all do something — we can all do some small task,” he said.

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