Viral Photo: Michigan Santa Shares Life Lesson With Autistic Boy

December 9, 2015 Updated: December 9, 2015

A man dressed as Santa Claus knew just what to do when a boy with autism sat on his lap.

Naomi Johnson’s son, Landon, who she refers to as “L,” went to see the Santa at a mall in Michigan.

“My child is amazing! He has his quirks and drives me bonkers, but he is amazing! The other day he went to see Santa w the cousins. He said his peace to the old man in red and walked away. While aunt Brittany waited for pictures to print, he went back to Santa bc he wanted to tell him that he has Autism. He was flapping his hands, all excited to let Santa know that he has autism,” Johnson wrote on Facebook.

“Santa sat him next to him and took L’s hands in his and started rubbing them, calming them down. Santa asked L if it bothered him, having Autism? L said yes, sometimes. Then Santa told him it shouldn’t. It shouldn’t bother him to be who he is. L told Santa that sometimes he gets in trouble at school and it’s hard for people to understand that he has autism, and that he’s not a naughty boy. Santa told L to not worry and that he has been a very good boy being who he is. They sat, and chatted for at least 5 mins. Santa payed close attention and listened to him. This just melts this momma’s heart!

“My child is a great advocate for himself. But this day was different. He opened up to this person about who he was and he was accepted. He wasn’t a science experiment, like he gets treated when most people find out he autistic. He was Landon, sitting with Santa and being told that it was ok to be himself. Mommy tells him all the time that he’s special and I love him the way he was made, but it’s always nice to hear it from others. To be told that it’s ok to be who he is.”



She later said the story brought her to tears.

Santa responded to the viral story by saying he loves children. 

“You just love them. That’s what anyone needs,” he told MLive.

“The older man comes off as a very authentic Santa Claus,” the company reported.

“There’s no artifice in his coiffed curly white hair and matching beard, which frame his rosy cheeks and bespectacled blue eyes, or his round girth.”

Follow Zachary on Twitter: @zackstieber