Santa’s Little Helper

| Right | December 22, 2015

(I am working as a cashier at a bookstore two weeks before Christmas. The customer I am helping is an older, portly man with a white beard and hair. He’s wearing jeans with a red sweater and white suspenders. He even has on red sneakers. There’s no getting around it: he looks like Santa on his day off. As I’m checking out his purchases, I notice that behind him in line there is a little girl tugging her mother’s pant leg and whispering furiously to her. I finished helping the older man with his purchases and wish him a happy holiday, then turn to the mother and daughter to help them with theirs. As the mother sets her books down on the counter, she turns to her daughter.)

Mother: “It’s okay, honey. You can go ask him.”

(The little girl approaches the man as he and his wife are preparing to leave, and taps on his leg to get his attention. He turns and looks at her.)

Customer: “Yes, dear?”

Little Girl: “Excuse me, sir…” *she looks back at her mother shyly, who encourages her, then turns back, whispering* “…are you Santa?”

Customer: *smiling and whispering back* “Yes, I am.”

Little Girl: “Really?”

(The customer beckons his wife over, who approaches with a smile and reaches into her purse, handing him something, which he then presents to the little girl: a candy cane. This seems to convince her, and she and “Santa” chat for a little bit while his wife talks to her mother and me.)

Customer’s Wife: “All the kids ask him that, and he loves how happy it makes them when he says yes. That’s when he got the idea to carry around the candy canes and dress in red. This is his favorite time of year.”

(“Santa” and his new friend finish their conversation and join the rest of us at the counter as I am finishing ringing up the little girl’s mother.)

Me: *to “Santa”* “You’re awesome.”

(I got a candy cane, too! Merry Christmas!)

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