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Secret Santa surprises terminally ill Nampa man

Posted: 5:53 PM, Dec 17, 2016
Updated: 2016-12-18 00:57:33Z

In most cases, taking out a title loan is a last resort move for people going through tough times.

A Secret Santa in the Treasure Valley knows this all too well. On Saturday, he forked over some cash to spread a little holiday cheer.

Rick Kittelman has had a rough couple of years with multiple deaths in his family, a house fire and several health problems of his own. It was a stroke that really set him back.

"The whole world just started spinning and I hit the ground and tried to get up," he said. "I couldn't get up."

Then, Kittelman found out he has a deadly form of fibrosis of the lungs. At the age of 55, he's been told he only has 3-5 years left. Having his loan paid off just ahead of the holidays is not only a surprise coming from a complete stranger but a relief.

The Nampa resident had taken the loan out to make ends meet.

"I live day-to-day the best I can," Kittelman said.

The owner of Ideal Lending knows the Secret Santa as he's a former customer from a few years back.

Together, they came up with a list of recipients who were really in need.

Thanks to the generosity from the Secret Santa and another anonymous donor, along with the customers' interest and loan fees being forgiven, the group gift totaled about $4,000.

"We really do our best to do folks right and this is one more way we're able to contribute to the community and help save people money and really help those who are in need," said Ben Martineau, owner of Ideal Lending locations in the Treasure Valley and Magic Valley.

In all, seven loans were paid off, including a loan out of the Twin Falls area.