By Matt Petrillo


HAMILTON TOWNSHIP, N.J. (CBS) –A South Jersey couple is giving a whole new meaning to the phrase Christmas in July. They bought hundreds of shoes from a closing Payless store and donated them to a women’s shelter. And it was all on a whim.

The Payless in Mercer County recently closed.

Earlier this year, Payless filed for bankruptcy and when a couple went shopping there last month, they walked out with a lot more shoes than they had planned.

“I hate shoe shopping,” Susan Cook said.

Cook may not like shopping for herself, but she and her partner, Patrick Riordan, decided to shop for hundreds of others they don’t even know.

It happened in late June at the Payless store in the Hamilton Township Marketplace in Mercer County. Inside the store, lots of posters said “Everything $3.”

“As we walked in, they changed it from $3 to $2,” Riordan said.

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Sounds great, but then an even better deal was offered after the couple began talking to a few employees.

“They’re talking, they say ‘we’re trying to get everything out of here today, sell everything today and close today’. I say ‘you really want to close today?’ The manager says ‘yeah I’d like to be done with it.’ I say ‘how much to buy everything in this store right now?'” Riordan said.

So the store manager made a few calls and then told the couple every single item is just $1 each. They said ring it all up.

“There were all kinds of shoes. Kids sneakers, boy sneakers, light-up sneakers,” Cook said.

Plus boots, slippers and more taking up 11 bags. The couple donated it all to Womanspace, a shelter and rehabilitation program in Lawrenceville.

“It’s a start back up to a better life, a newer life,” Cook said.

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In a Facebook post, Womanspace wrote the donation will help hundreds of families in its programs, adding:

“We can offer them the basics that most people take for granted and we can do that because of this generous family and others like them that understand the importance of sharing.”

“Kindness is something that should be shared and shown,” Cook said.

The couple says the retail value of the shoes they bought was probably about $5,000. They spent about $250 and they say it was worth every penny.