There’s nothing better than watching a child’s eyes light up when they meet Santa at the mall or a festive gathering. Their sense of wonder and innocence as they tell the big man in the red suit all of their Christmas wishes is absolutely magical.
A little girl saw a man in a grocery store that looked like a spitting image of Santa Claus. His reaction when she approached him reminds us what Christmas is all about.
Robert Riley was doing some Christmas shopping with his two daughters at the Walmart in Hurricane, West Virginia. One of his daughters, 3-year-old Sophie Jo Riley, noticed a man that, as adults, many of us wouldn’t have given much thought about. But for Sophie, he had an uncanny resemblance to someone very special to her.
“She was just sneaking around the aisle, had her back against the toys,” her older sister Miya Lupashunski told WSAZ. “We were behind her, and she’d put her finger up to her lips and go ‘Shh! It’s Santa!’ “
Although the man wasn’t in a full Santa attire, he did have a long white beard and was wearing a bright red sweatshirt.
After some encouragement from her dad, Sophie went to speak with the casual Santa. It turns out his name is Roger Larck and although he might not be the “official” Santa, his actions over the next few moments create a memory that will last a lifetime for this little girl.
“Santa?” Sophie asks as she approaches him. “I’ve been called worse,” he replied.
After seeing the awe and wonder in 3-year-old Sophie’s eyes, Larck decided to be Santa just for those next few moments.
Sophie is excited to show off her pretty nails to ‘Santa,’ and she also lets him know that he can expect cookies when he arrives at her house. He asks if all of the cookies are for him, but she quickly tells him he can only have one. The others are meant for his reindeer, although, she realizes that they usually only eat grass.
“They do, but up in the North Pole, grass is pretty hard to come by,” Larck replies back to Sophie.
Sophie’s sister recorded the adorable and magical encounter with her cell phone. After posting the video on social media, it’s been viewed millions of times. Sophie’s innocence and amazement remind everyone what this special holiday is really about.
“If there really was a Santa Claus, and now I question it,” Sophie’s mother Erika Riley said, “I think maybe there really is. That’s exactly how I picture him to be.”
As for Roger Larck, he was happy to provide a moment of magic for the little girl.
“I’m tickled I’ve been a part of something that other people have enjoyed,” Larck said. “It was just me having a conversation with a little girl. It melted my heart when it happened.”
“It’s real, it’s pure,” Robert Riley says about the video below. “It’s innocence. It’s Christmas.”
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