You will definitely know that Christmas is around the corner when Santa starts showing up on malls and public places. Seeing children getting excited over meeting their Christmas hero never fails to warm one’s heart. After all, the innocence of children mixed with their enthusiasm to share what they want for Christmas encourages us to celebrate the season with the same kind of attitude.
When a little girl from West Virginia saw a man in Walmart who looks exactly as how Santa Claus would be in real life, she couldn’t contain the excitement and giddiness in her heart. Thrilled to meet the Santa she thought he was, the 3-year-old Sophie Jo Riley pointed out her Christmas hero to her sisters.
As it turned out, little Sophie was not pointing out to an old man dressed in a Santa Claus costume. Instead, Sophie was pertaining to a fellow shopper, Mr. Roger Larck.
“She was just sneaking around the aisle, had her back against the toys,” Sophie’s older sister, Miya Lupashunski recalled how Sophie got worked out over finding Santa on his regular day. “We were behind her, and she’d put her finger up to her lips and go ‘Shh! It’s Santa!’“
Although Sophie was eager to meet and talk to ‘Santa,’ she was hesitant to approach her Christmas hero. Fortunately, her dad, Robert Riley gave her the push she needed to find the courage to walk to ‘Santa.’
“Santa?” Little Sophie asked sheepishly.
“I’ve been called worse,” Mr. Roger Larck replied with humor. Although he was not wearing a Santa Claus costume, he did have a long white beard and was wearing a bright red sweatshirt. Which is why he couldn’t blame the charming 3-year-old girl for thinking he was Santa.
Seeing Sophie’s eyes lit up with glee, the old man did not have the heart to break the truth to Sophie. Thinking that he’s got nothing to lose, Mr. Roger decided to be Santa for the little girl, giving her a Christmas experience that she would never forget!
The little girl went on and showed off her pretty nails to Mr. Roger. She was also happy to let him know that he can have some cookies when he arrives at her house in the Christmas eve. When Mr. Roger asked if all the cookies are for him, little Sophie firmly told him that he can only have one. Apparently, Sophie wants Santa’s reindeer to have a taste of her cookies as well. However, the innocent little girl figured out that Santa’s reindeer only eats grass.
“They do, but up in the North Pole, grass is pretty hard to come by,” Mr. Roger happily replied.
Touched by the scene unfolding before her eyes, Sophie’s older sister decided to record the sweet exchange between Sophie and Mr. Roger. To spread the Christmas spirit, Robert shared the video on his Facebook account. Unsurprisingly, the video reached millions of views in just a short time.
Along with the video was a caption which reads:
“Sophie found Santa at Walmart this evening. She saw him then kept sneaking up on him. She asked him if he was Santa at first and if you turn up the volume you can hear the rest. So cute and innocent. I love this!!”
Sophie’s family is grateful for the time that Mr. Roger generously shared to humor their little Sophie. The gesture may not appear as a big deal for some, but for the 3-year-old girl, it sure was everything.
“If there really was a Santa Claus, and now I question it,” Erika Riley, Sophie and Miya’s mother said, “I think maybe there really is. That’s exactly how I picture him to be.”
As for Mr. Roger, he was more than happy to make Sophie’s Christmas complete. “I’m tickled I’ve been a part of something that other people have enjoyed,” Mr. Roger explained. “It was just me having a conversation with a little girl. It melted my heart when it happened.”
Certainly, it was not only Mr. Roger’s heart that melted over the incident. The millions of people who have witnessed their sweet exchange were also reminded of what Christmas is all about: taking after the pure and innocent hearts of children.
Watch the moving exchange between Sophie, an adorable 3-year-old kid who mistook a stranger for Santa, and Mr. Roger, the man who happily made little Sophie’s Christmas dream come true!
Photos and Video | Robert Riley