'Tis the season over at Reddit, where a mall santas thread made its way to the Front Page of the Internet on Monday. The prompt called for the mall santas of Reddit to post the most disturbing, heart-wrenching, or weirdest requests they fielded while sitting on the throne of lies.
The results are as terrifying, uplifting, and depressing as you'd imagine.
Seriously, don't go over there unless you're armed with boxes of tissues and ready for your afternoon cry.
I was Elementary School Santa for three years. This experience still haunts me....
I'd had a long morning of little tykes with retail advertising dreams of all kinds of shiny new 'must have' toys, older boys with dreams of motorized vehicles, and older girls with dreams of 'cute boys' and makeup and clothes. After a break to 'feed the reindeer'.. (those costumes are HOT), I returned to a busy classroom filled with kids working at all the activities and having fun. And then, after another hour of the usual, I met two little children dressed in their Sunday best.
And each of them perched on my knee, looked deep into my eyes, and asked, quietly and from the depths of their hearts, "Please Santa. I don't want any toys. I don't want anything. I just want my baby sister to get better." And suddenly I knew who they were... their little sister, age 7, was dying of cancer in the local Children's hospital. We had already done a school fundraiser for her and her family. Our Scout Troop had raked leaves at their house, and helped them with their Thanksgiving dinner.
It took everything I had to not weep. I hugged each child close in turn, gave them their candy cane, and told them that it wasn't up to Santa, but I would do my best to put in a good word with the guy upstairs. And told them to remember that everybody loved them too, and that it was OK to have fun for themselves. And that I would do what I could to make sure they had some presents.
They each smiled a little bit in turn, and went to hug each other and their grandmother. I could see the smile through the pain in her eyes and she led them to other activities.
I called a break to 'check on Rudolph on the roof', and walked as rapidly as I could to the teacher's lounge. Where I wept quietly for the little girl, and her family, and the unselfish love of little children.
And then put on the Suit and went back to work with a broken heart.
She died two days after Christmas. We planted a butterfly garden at the school in her name, just outside the office window. It's a pretty place, with a shaded bench and brilliant flowers. And the butterflies come there in the summer and dance.
Ed: The gold was very sweet, thank you. Give the love forward, folks. Always remember: Sadness shared is sadness reduced. Joy shared is joy increased.
Pardon me while I spend the rest of the afternoon trying to get this thing out of my eye. [Reddit]