A 6-year-old Michigan boy's visit to the mall Santa was so special his mother's Facebook post about it has been shared thousands of times (video below).
Landon Johnson, an autistic first-grader, was worried if his condition would cause Santa to bypass his house on Christmas. So he asked Santa: “Will autism put me on the naughty list?”
Landon, who didn’t start speaking until he was 4, understands that his condition often gives people the wrong impression. “Often people who don’t know him mistake autism with being naughty,” reports Ken Kolker of local NBC affiliate WOOD-TV.
When asked what he told the boy, Santa paraphrased his words as follows: “You know I love you and the reindeer love you and it’s OK. You’re a good boy. You’re a good boy, you know?”
Landon’s mother, Naomi, noted that Santa’s message -- “It’s OK to be you” -- was exactly what she had been telling her son since he was born.
"Here was Landon, sitting with Santa and being told that it was OK to be himself,” she said. “Mommy tells him all the time that he’s special and I love him the way he was made, but it’s always nice to hear it from others."
After seeing the video, Santa’s reaction was emotional. “It brought tears to my eyes,” he said. “My heart melted, that he had such a wonderful experience. It wasn’t me, it was the two of us together.”
As for Landon, he found Santa’s words reassuring. “I’m not going to get coal,” he excitedly explained. “You get coal if you’re bad. Santa brings you coal if you’re bad.”
His mother summed up the experience by noting how special it was. "We have met a lot of amazing people in our autism journey,” she said, “but this one made the top of the list."