As Christmas approaches, things can get just a little bit frenzied. You’ve got to get the tree and other decorations set up, untangle what seem like miles of Christmas lights, and not forget to put the cards in the mail. If you have little kids, there’s one more seasonal chore: taking them to the mall so they can tell Santa Claus how good they’ve been all year.
On one of his swings through western Michigan, the Jolly Old Elf was holding court at the RiverTown Crossings Mall near Grand Rapids. Naomi Johnson was there with her son Landon and several of his cousins. Landon’s confab with Santa was perfectly normal: he asked for a Nintendo Wii, a radio-controlled car, and a toy dinosaur. After they posed for the traditional photo, Landon hopped off Santa’s lap and went over to his mom and cousins to wait for the print to be ready.
But then Landon suddenly dashed back over to Santa. So nervous his were shaking, he told Santa he had autism and asked if that would get him put on the naughty list. People who don’t know Landon (and don’t know he has autism) often think he’s misbehaving when he really doesn’t mean to. As his mom recalled, “Santa sat him next to him and took Landon’s hands in his and started rubbing them, calming them down. Santa asked Landon if it bothered him, having autism? Landon said yes, sometimes. Then Santa told him it shouldn’t. It shouldn’t bother him to be who he is.”
“It’s okay to be you.” Those five words from a mall Santa made it a magical Christmas for a little boy who feared he’d be getting lumps of coal in his stocking.
Check out the story from the local television news that we’ve posted below. We’d love to hear your thoughts about this heartwarming holiday story. Be sure to like and share: you might make someone’s day!