Flash back to February of 2010. A man named Paul is getting his hair cut at a barber shop in Nome, Alaska.
Another man walks in and remarks, “Wow, you look a lot like Santa. I’ve got a job for you.”
Long story short: a four-year-old boy named Jacob who lived in the remote village of Shaktoolik wished to give Christmas to his family early. He had been hospitalized the last Christmas, and he wasn’t expected to make it to the following holiday season.
Not only did Paul at the barber shop look like Santa, he was a professionally trained Santa Claus! He’d attended the oldest Santa Claus school in the world, and he even went as Santa to the Olympics in Norway.
“I’ve traveled the world being Santa,” said Paul, “and I knew I wanted to help this boy.”
And he did. He immediately jumped in to help grant Jacob’s rush wish, a wish that needs to take place immediately because the child’s health is quickly deteriorating.
On a cold February day in 2010, Santa Paul and his elf boarded a small plane and flew from Nome to Shaktoolik with a bag of holiday cheer—toys, treats and even a Christmas tree since trees can’t grow in the cold, windswept Alaska village.
When the plane landed on the frozen sand spit in Shaktoolik, Paul stepped out and bellowed “Ho, ho, ho,” to the small community of onlookers.
It was all smiles for Jacob that day!
“I knew that Jacob was hurting inside, and I could feel for the parents,” said Santa Paul, “but he [Jacob] smiled the whole time. It just touched my heart.”
Santa stayed for a few hours. “It was a fun, happy visit for everyone,” he said.
Jacob passed away shortly thereafter, but Santa Paul will never forget what it was like to bring Christmas to this brave little boy and his family.
That wish stayed with Santa Paul. Five years later he was a finalist in the Santas on the Barn reality television show. Out of 4,000 Santas from across the country, Paul won!
He was awarded a $10,000 check to donate to the charity of his choice…and he picked Make-A-Wish Alaska and Washington.
Why? Santa Paul remembered the joy of Jacob’s wish. He remembered how a wish made a difference to a young boy and his family in the remote village of Alaska.
Thank you, Santa Paul, not only for granting Jacob’s wish, but for providing future wishes through your generous donation.
We are so grateful!