'A little well-placed 'Ho, Ho, Ho' helps some parents,' said the kindhearted stranger.
Kids really look forward to meeting Santa Claus during the holiday season when he comes by to drop off their presents. One such child was ecstatic when she saw "Santa Claus" at a Walmart in Teays Valley while shopping with her family.
The little one named Sophie Jo couldn't stop looking at a shopper in a red shirt in Walmart as she was convinced he was Father Christmas himself. She eventually went up to him and asked him if he was Santa and the kind stranger, realizing how much it meant to her, played along. In a video of their heartwarming interaction captured by Sophie's sister, the little girl can be seen near the man—who was actually a local shopped named Roger—as he kneels down to talk to her. "I've been told you've been a good girl this year," he tells the young one.
She then proudly shows him her hands to which he says, "Wow, haven't you got pretty nails." He then asks her: "Are you getting ready for Christmas? Are you looking for a tree here?" She responds "yes" and tells him that it is a big tree. The girl's sister then prompts her: "Tell Santa what you're going to leave him." Hearing this, Roger asks Sophie, "'What are you going to put out for Santa this year?" The girl excitedly tells him that she'll be leaving out cookies for him when he comes to visit her house the night before Christmas. However, she adds that he has to share the cookies with Rudolph the reindeer and that Santa himself could only have one cookie.
The video clip concludes with the girl waving to Santa Claus and saying thank you. Before parting ways, Rogers wishes her a "happy Christmas" and tells his new friend that he has "got a lot of kids to buy for."
Talking to WSAZ News Channel 3 about the incident, Roger said, "Seeing somebody that sweet and innocent and that excited about Christmas and Santa Claus, you can't ask for anything more than that. That was a great Christmas present for me."
When asked if it was the first time he'd been mistaken for Santa, he answered: "No, I've been approached before. Sometimes just a little child at a store just carrying on... a little well-placed 'Ho, Ho, Ho' helps some parents."
Roger revealed that he himself has four grandsons. "I got to see a lot of boys, and that kind of goes hand-in-hand. I can't imagine waking up in the morning and not knowing they are there. They are as much a part of my life," he said. Speaking of Sophie, he said, "She was drawn to the image and is such a sweet little girl, you cannot not be drawn by her. You just have to look at her when she is talking about Christmas."
Roger added that he was happy to be part of something that people enjoyed. "Christmas we know is all about the children but there is no reason we can't enjoy it," he said. When the hosts asked what he wanted for Christmas, he said that he didn't need anything but would like people to look in their closets for unused coats, shoes, socks, and clothes and donate them to organizations or people who need them.