Tyler Perry has etched his own place in entertainment history, even before turning 50. He already is listed by Forbes as one of the highest-paid men in entertainment, and his filmmaking complex outside of Atlanta is not only used for his own successful projects, but by numerous other directors, producers, and filmmakers worldwide. In this Christmas season, when television ads seem particularly steeped in visions of instant glitz, glamor, and all sorts of goodies at the touch of a phone, Tyler Perry can spend whatever he chooses. Instead of merely spreading his lucre for his own circle of family and friends, Tyler Perry chose to spread love and joy to over 1,500 families for Christmas morning.

A penny pays off

Tyler Perry understands the struggle of working families, and what it is to sacrifice week by week, month by month, to provide just one or two special gifts under the tree. The mega-producer of the Medea film franchise and countless other films and television series, including “The Paynes” and “The Haves and the Have Nots” has frequently described the gift of faith from his mother as his greatest gift. Last year, during a visit to “CBS This Morning,” Perry attributed his sense of hope and surety that “things can always get better” to his mother.

He endured unspeakable brutality and abuse at the hands of his father, so much so that it was a matter of, “what didn't he do,” but instead of harboring hate, Tyler Perry is a continual, living proponent of the power of dreams and hard work.

He espouses those views in his book “Higher is Waiting,” which he hopes will inspire “a soul GPS” to rule over the sense of feeling lost in many young people.

Tyler Perry also understands that actions for good have an endless ripple effect, and the one-man entertainment industry was inspired by his weekend celebration marking the 100th birthday of Nelson Mandela.

Whether that gathering of talents across the globe was the spark of this stroke of goodness or not, only Tyler Perry knows. Whatever the reason, shoppers at Walmart store on Cleveland Avenue in East Point, Georgia, and on Concourse Parkway in Douglasville were extended this grand gesture of layaway grace. The patrons involved were asked to pay a penny to pick up their items before 9:30 AM on December 6, according to NBC and NOLA.com.

He still found success after leaving OWN as well.

Not needing the limelight

Tyler Perry handled this offer in clandestine style, sending his team to the two locations with checks, negating any glare of paparazzi cameras or publicity notice. The total came to more than $430,000, according to Walmart director of national media relations, LeMia Jenkins. She elaborated that the surprise was “completely unexpected,” and naturally, customers were “really excited” by the real-life Santa Claus embracing the spirit of Christmas in this magnanimous way.

Tyler Perry's smile spoke more eloquently than any words, even from one of his own scripts. He offered that he was “really, really grateful” to be in a position to pay forward his gratitude for life's blessings, which include his son, Aman, now four, with his partner, Gelilia Bekele.

“Oh, well,” was the response Perry gave to having his cover blown by well-meaning people involved. “God bless you. Go get your stuff. Merry Christmas!” closed the benefactor’s comments.

Tyler Perry wasn’t the only secret elf spreading cheer in the wee hours. Gayle Benson, the 71-year-old owner of the New Orleans Saints and the Pelicans, paid off 400 layaways at a single Walmart store in Tchoupitoulas store, totaling over $93,000. Perry hails from New Orleans, so maybe there was a shot of good energy in the eggnog. It does indeed take a village to raise a child, and hopefully, this spirit of giving will go supersonic and spread to millions of more families who will feel the gift of love down deep, beyond anything in a box.