by Ewing Hall
Many years ago, my wife, a registered nurse, worked at a senior living center. There were several nursing assistants there who worked their hearts out serving the residents. The pay was not much more than minimum wage, but they were dedicated to providing the best care they could.
One nursing assistant’s husband had been laid off, so she was working to support not only her husband and herself, but also their two children, aged about four and six. Her financial hardship was recognized by all the staff at that facility, and they loved her and were deeply concerned for her.
With Christmas fast approaching, they wanted to do something to assist her, and wanted to do so anonymously. No one there knew me from Adam, except of course my wife. She asked me if I would play Santa, and I agreed. The staff had contributed quite a bit of money, and bought several bags of groceries along with a present for each of the children. I got to be the delivery guy.
So on Christmas Eve, clad in a stocking cap, I knocked at the door. Once I was sure I was at the right apartment, I told them to stand by for a delivery. As I brought the gifts in, I noticed the family’s Christmas Eve dinner consisted of one hot dog apiece with baked beans. There were no presents under the table-top Christmas tree, which had lights and very few ornaments.
It took me four trips to the car to bring in what was probably well over two weeks’ worth of groceries plus the two wrapped Christmas presents for the kids. I will never forget the look of appreciation I got from the parents, nor the wonderment in the eyes of the kids, who I am sure were conditioned not to expect anything for Christmas.
The nursing staff were the heroes here, not me. But playing Santa made this my most memorable Christmas memory ever. I tear up every time I think of it.