Philip A. Farruggio -- World News Trust
Dec. 28, 2015
He was Santa Claus every holiday season at the local mall.
The photography company built a beautiful "Santa's Workshop" in the main lobby of the Kings Plaza, Brooklyn mall. There he would sit, usually in the late afternoons and evenings, after his college classes finished.
The money wasn't bad, maybe not as much as he would make driving a yellow cab, as he usually did on weekends. Yet, being Santa was fun, and he loved the little kids and all the attention being Santa brought him. After all, he was a Theater major wasn't he? His pal Johnny worked the job for a few shifts when he couldn't make it, but suddenly had to quit.
It seems that the itchy wool suit and the too-hot mall temperatures got to him. But, Johnny was just being Johnny, and even through his discomfort could crack anyone up with his sense of humor. As much as Johnny was correct about the suit and the heat, being Santa was too good a deal to pass up for this Theater major. He loved it!
The years passed by too quickly, and now he was a partner in a telemarketing business. Each Christmas, he and his partner would donate to old age homes a bunch of inexpensive oil paintings that usually were sent out to purchasing agents along with their orders. Or, they would give out the surplus pens and pencils from their stockroom to a local orphanage. Now that they were doing better than expected with their business, why not spread their good fortune around a bit? How much could that cost them to bring a little kindness to others less fortunate?
Then, one day he went to visit his Mom at the local hospital, where she was recovering from an accident. When he walked through the halls, he noticed that many of the patients were very elderly. With Christmas was fast approaching, he came up with a novel idea. Why not borrow the Santa suit from his old boss Selma, and visit the local hospital on Christmas day? HIs partner could not make it, but agreed to let him bring along a bunch of those oil paintings for the patients.
When he visited his old pal Johnny, who was in town for the holidays (he had relocated to Albuquerque and married a few years earlier) Johnny and his younger sister Marie agreed to come with "Santa" to the hospital on this Christmas day. So, off they went.
At the hospital, after getting clearance to visit with the patients, he felt so back-in-touch with being Santa Claus once again. Marie would be his elf and together they went from room to room, handing out the paintings and plenty of "Ho Ho Hos." Everyone they visited was quite old with usually two to a room, and Santa and helper brought so many smiles to so many faces.
Even the nurses got a kick out of it all... except for the old lady in room 103, bed B. She actually got a bit nasty with Santa and told him "Just leave me be. I don't want any damn painting!" He backed off and left the room disappointed. The floor nurse came over and said " Just ignore Eloise, she's always grouchy. What can you do.?" He asked " Doesn't she have any family to visit her?" The nurse shook her head NO. " Been here almost two weeks and not one person ever has come to visit her. Not one."
It was about time to go. They had given out all of the paintings except for the one that the old lady refused. Johnny and his sister consoled him by saying how great this all had been. The floor nurse said that no one ever remembers to come here on Christmas day.
"They all go to the nursing homes to visit the elderly. Not many realize how many old folks are here, and since it's temporary at that, no one remembers. You were the first since I've been here, and I've been here for five years."
At that, Santa grabbed the painting from Marie and marched into room 103. The old lady was sitting by the window, gazing out, as if to almost see if anyone was coming for her.
"Eloise, Eloise, I am the ghost of Christmas and I have come for YOU!!"
She turned slowly in her chair and just stared blankly at him.
"YOU can yell at me, you can say whatever you wish to me Eloise, but I am not leaving until you give me a big smile. Do you get that?"
And with that, he suddenly pulled down his beard and began laughing. She gave him a puzzled look at first and then... burst out laughing! He ran over to her and gave her a kiss on her forehead.
"Now, Eloise, it is not nice to turn down gifts from Santa, even one with no beard. Take this gift from the North Pole, I came all the way here to give it to you. Take it!"
A few days later he received a call at his office from the floor nurse. He remembered that he had given her his business card at the hospital.
"I just wanted you to know that Eloise made us put the painting up on the wall by her bed... and we usually won't allow that, but... after all it was from Santa. That's the first time any of us ever saw that woman laugh, or even smile... and now that is all she does."