Walmart Santa

Monday, December 2, 2019
by Cody Vaughn

When Katie and I were first married and still in college, I took a job working at Walmart as a cashier. When I’m working, I like to keep busy. Some mistake it for a good work ethic, but in reality, I just get bored really easily. One year during the holiday season, one of my supervisors asked if I’d like to “Step Up” and help out on my day off. Thinking entirely of the extra money that’d show up on my next paycheck I said, “yes.” It was at that point that the manager told me I’d be dressing up as Santa Claus, posing for pictures with children in the store. At first I was relieved that they weren’t asking me to dress up as an elf, but then I thought of how weird it would look with a 5’3” Santa and an extremely gangly elf (an equally unlucky electronics associate) that stood 6’2” tall. Needless to say, I was dreading my commitment immediately.

When the weekend came, I was given a Santa suit made for a jolly retiree with a belly, along with a pillow from the Home Goods aisle to better fill out the suit, and a poorly fitting beard. I put on the suit and tried just to focus on how the extra money would benefit me. As my elf and I walked around the store, I noticed several children walking around with several members of Law Enforcement. One police officer noticed us and motioned for us to come talk to the group. As the children saw us walking toward them, they erupted into giddy screams of “SANTA!” I spent the next hour asking the children what they wanted for Christmas and listening to their random questions about Mrs. Claus and my reindeer. The day went quicker than I expected. As I ended my shift, I was met at the door by my manager and the police officer I’d met earlier in the day. I hadn’t shoplifted and I knew I’d paid my taxes, so I was pretty sure I wasn’t getting arrested. My manager said, “Cody, I know you really stepped out of your comfort zone, but I want you to know that you really stepped up today and brightened up those children’s day. Everyone else we asked said, ‘no.’” It turned out those child were with the police officers as part of the “Shop With A Cop” program that gives Christmas presents and warm clothes to underprivileged children, children who typically don’t get a chance to chat with Santa during the holiday season. I instantly felt guilty. I was worried about being embarrassed by dressing up as Santa and how much extra money I would make, when I should have been counting my own blessings and thanking God for everything that He had given me in my life.

The point I’m trying to make is that stepping up and getting out of our comfort zones very rarely feels good. We find ourselves trying to come up with excuses as to why we can’t or shouldn’t do something, rather than allowing God to guide us into a situation that allows us to better the lives of others through Him. How would you like to lead a church committee for 2020? Could you help at the Compassionate Clothing Closet some month? You have a voice like Sinatra – could you be in the choir? God is guiding us and urging us to Step Up, Step Out, and Step Forward. Will you say “yes” with me?