Good news, Minnesota, Santa likes you. A lot.
Larry Jefferson, a retired U.S. Army veteran who plays Santa Claus, has returned to his Dallas home after four days at the Mall of America that landed him plenty of attention because he’s African-American.
“It’s just been incredible,” he tells the Dallas Morning News. “I can’t believe people people were driving and flying from a far distance to come see me and get their picture taken. I’m humbled and I’m amazed and I just thank God for the opportunity to share joy and happiness and holiday cheer with everybody.”
Jefferson isn’t unaware that a black Santa isn’t everyone’s piece of cake, but that fact got overblown in Minnesota, thanks to an inaccurate tweet from an editor at the Star Tribune who suggested the backlash was so strong, the paper turned comments off on the story on its website. In truth, the comments were never turned on, apparently because of sensitivity that the comments might be racist.
Santa… Larry… gets that, which is why he prefers to hang out with kids.
“Kids only see the red suit, the white beard,” Jefferson said. “And I tell them I got candy canes and that’s what makes them smile.”
“It’s making magic, it’s making memories for families, whether they’re young, old, black, white, Hispanic, Asian, Muslim, it doesn’t matter,” he said.