North Pole Fire & Rescue’s chief brings magic to a little boy.
Years ago, I visited Silver Dollar City theme park in Branson, Missouri. I was once a firefighter, so my cellphone’s ring tone was the sound of a firetruck siren. As I looked around a shop, my phone rang. A little boy who was standing nearby with his mother looked at me with curious eyes. I had a beard and was wearing a Santa hat, so I decided to have a little fun. My mother was on the phone, and she let me run with it. “North Pole Fire & Rescue, this is the chief,” I answered. “Why, yes, Santa! What can I do for you, sir?” By now the boy was all wideeyed, thinking that I was talking to the big man at the North Pole. I pointed toward my phone and whispered, “It’s Santa.” The boy smiled and listened closely as I continued my conversation. “Oh, yes, sir. We are in Branson, Missouri, checking on preparations for the big night.” I paused for a moment and nodded to give the appearance that Santa was talking to me. Then I continued, “Yes, Santa! Branson’s fire and police departments are ready for you. We are going to Springfield, Missouri, next, and will call with an update when we get there.” I paused again to listen, then signed off the phone call with “Merry Christmas!” The boy was beaming at the thought that I was the fire chief of the North Pole and had just talked to Santa. He asked why I was in Missouri instead of at the North Pole, so I continued with my story. “Santa doesn’t want problems on Christmas Eve, so we have been working with fire and police departments for years, making sure deliveries go smoothly.” “What kind of things do you do?” he asked. “We make sure there are spare parts available for the sleigh,” I said. “And if one of Santa Claus’ reindeer gets a splinter in its hoof, then EMTs and paramedics will treat it with special medicine. We also make sure there is plenty of water and hay. It’s a long flight, and the reindeer get hungry.” By now the boy was beside himself with joy. I asked him if he was being good, and he said “yes” with a big smile. About an hour later I ran into his mother in a different shop, and she told me something very touching. Earlier in the day they had tried to see Santa, but he wasn’t there. It was disappointing. Her son was sad, but his spirits were lifted when he met the chief of the North Pole Fire & Rescue and learned about Santa’s important Christmas Eve preparations. She said I had made her son’s day. I told her I was thrilled to pass on a bit of Santa’s magic.