MIAMI (CBS4) – Anywhere he goes, the jolly man in red lights up the room, with a full grown beard and a contagious smile.
But one South Florida Santa has a deeper story.
“I see a lot of children who don’t have anything. so I try to give as much of my free time as I can,” said Santa, who grew up as Russell James Alexander. he worked as a Miami taxi driver for three decades. he wasn’t always Santa.
But his brother, Dave, was Santa all his life.
“He just was Santa Claus. He loved doing it,” said Alexander.
Two years ago, Dave died and left behind a Christmas legacy. His brother did not want Santa to disappear. He grew the beard, put on the suit, and delivered smiles.
“Everyday when I go out the door, I say here we go Dave,” said Alexander.
Thursday morning was no different. Santa walked into Miami Children’s Hospital to give sick children teddy bears from the Neighbors 4 Neighbors Adopt-a-Bear program.
After one of the visits, away from our cameras, Santa began to cry.
“There was one little girl, it’s just, you could see was very frightened, and just being sick, it was very hard,” he said.
But he continued delivering teddy bears.
“I get a lot of happiness out of it, that I’m doing something good for children and giving joy, because that’s what it’s all about. The love in your heart, and to keep the love that represents Christmas, all throughout the year, that’s my message,” he said.
Santa delivers happiness all over Miami anywhere the Christmas Spirit lives, all while thinking of that other Santa who changed his life.
“He motivates me a lot. I know he’d be proud of me,” he said.
To visit Santa’s new Facebook page, visit http://www.facebook.com/santainmiami.