Mall Santa Lets Autistic Boy Know He's Okay Just The Way He Is

by Maria Guido

A Michigan mom’s post about her son’s sweet moment with a Santa at her local mall has been shared thousands of times this week, and for good reason. This mall Santa went the extra mile to make her son feel special.

Naomi Johnson’s son Landon is autistic. He told Santa that sometimes he gets in trouble in school because it’s hard for people to understand that he’s not being “naughty.” Santa chatted with Landon for five minutes, holding his hands to calm him down. He told him he was a “very good boy being who he is.”

Johnson says in her post, “My child is a great advocate for himself. But this day was different. He opened up to this person about who he was and he was accepted. He wasn’t a science experiment, like he gets treated when most people find out he is autistic. He was Landon, sitting with Santa and being told that it was ok to be himself.”

We forget how smart, present, and sensitive children are; that they absorb the things people say to and around them. This Santa really took the time to see the boy and make him feel accepted and special.

Mall Santas are really stepping up their game this year, aren’t they? There are so many heartwarming stories surfacing lately of Santas going the extra mile to make all children feel special. There was the Santa who got on the ground to make an autistic child comfortable around him. Then there was the story of the Santa who signed with a small girl who was not very verbal. There are so many different children out there with so many different needs. Sharing these stories reminds us all to take the extra time, have patience, and really see the people we are interacting with.

“Mommy tells him all the time that he’s special and I love him the way he was made, but it’s always nice to hear it from others,” Johnson said. “To be told that it’s ok to be who he is.”

It’s a good reminder; this is all anyone really wants.