By DINA ARÉVALO
Port Isabel-South Padre Press
There’s something magical about seeing the eyes of a small child light up as he sees Santa Claus holding a Christmas present intended just for him. Even if there’s a line of other kids who have already gotten gifts, or children who are still waiting to see what Santa has in store for them, for a singular moment that one child is filled with a shining jubilance that causes everything else around him to fade away.
Such was the scene I was lucky enough to witness earlier this week as the Blue Knights, a law enforcement motorcycle club, along with Pct. 1 Constable Pete Delgadillo, roared into Laguna Heights on howling Harley Davidson motorcycles to help Santa make a special delivery.
Jolly Saint Nick, clad in an azure suit to match the riding vests of his law enforcement deputy elves, brought dozens of toys for the kids at Esperanza B. Garza Head Start. One by one, Santa greeted them with his characteristic belly-shaking laugh, handing them a gift before pausing for a photograph.
Some of the kids were shy and reserved, taking the gifts with a quiet ‘thank you’ before returning to examine their present in more detail. Others wore huge grins and hugged the big man before scampering off to rejoin their classmates on the colorful carpets. Some expressed a combination of the two reactions, first staring at Santa with excitement then growing more awed as they realized it was their turn to say hello to the man who came to visit them from all the way at the North Pole. One kid, though, was positively radiant. And it was his reaction that stuck with me.
Four-year-old Saíd Garcia’s expression showed he could hardly believe that Santa had chosen to visit this special place. He practically bounced onto Santa’s lap, causing Santa to laugh even more. When Santa handed Saíd his gift — a set of toy pickup trucks — the little boy’s eyes widened into saucers while his smile grew even larger than before. He looked back up at Santa who assured him that, yes, all the trucks were for little Saíd.
He soon bounded off Santa’s lap and ran straight for a man who had been standing near the back of the crowd, watching with a subdued joy: his father, Luis Alfredo Garcia. Still beaming with a larger-than-life smile, Saíd proudly held the box of toy trucks up for his dad to see.
Garcia later said seeing his son so happy was a beautiful moment to behold. Indeed, young Saíd’s joy was infectious. Had the Grinch himself been in that room, he would have been unable to resist the urge to smile upon seeing the simple sweetness of such a joyful child.
It’s the reaction of little kids like Saíd that are perhaps the best part of the holiday season. Throughout the community, people band together to help spread joy and cheer by giving of their time, collecting and distributing gifts, offering help to those in need. To all those who, in those various ways, help Santa in his mission, I say thank you! Happy Christmas and may your holidays be merry and bright!
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