While at times it might feel like no one besides an autistic child’s family understands the disorder, there’s one jolly ol’ man in red who almost always seems to get it.
Six-year-old Landon Johnson and his cousins went to RiverTown Crossings mall in Grandville, Michigan to see Santa. While there, Landon had an honest conversation with Santa that brought a smile to everyone’s face.
Landon has autism and sometimes people call him “naughty” because of it.
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When it was his turn, he told Santa what he wanted and then waited with his family while their pictures with Santa printed. Landon’s mother, Naomi Johnson, wrote on Facebook that it was while the little boy was waiting with his aunt that Landon ran back to Santa to tell him something else.
Landon walked up to Santa and told him that he had autism.
I had an AMAZING experience w the Santa at the RiverTown Crossings Mall and I want to share my story with you:My child…
When asked why he told Santa that he had autism his answer was simple.
“Because I wanted him to know that,” he told WOOD TV8.
Johnson described the touching moment between Santa and her son and shared it on the mall’s Facebook page.
Santa listened to what Landon had to say and gave his full attention to the little boy. When Landon shared that he had autism and sometimes it gets him in trouble for school Santa assured him that being himself wouldn’t get him on the naughty list.
Not only was Landon and his mother touched by the moment, but so was Santa.
Johnson told WOOD TV8 that his behavior is often described as “naughty” by other people who don’t understand autism, so for Landon, hearing Santa say “it’s ok to be who you are” was monumental.
“This stranger in a red suit told my son the same message I’ve been trying to get through to him for a while now — that he’s special and I love him just the way he was made,” she told TODAY.
As for Landon he was super excited to meet Santa and even more excited to hear he wouldn’t be on the naughty list.
“I’m not going to get coal,” he happily told WOOD TV8.