‘It’s OK to Be Yourself’: Mall Santa Comforts Worried 6-Year-Old Michigan Boy With Autism in Viral Photo

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A touching moment was caught on camera when a mall Santa Claus empathized with a child who worried his autism would put him on the “naughty list.”

The boy’s mother, Naomi Johnson, posted the story and picture to the Facebook page of RiverTown Crossings in Grandville, thanking them for everything they did to make this a special Christmas for her 6-year-old son, Landon Johnson.

The photo shows Santa comforting Landon after talking about his disability.“Santa took his hands and Landon was really, really excited,” Johson told KTLA sister station WXMI. “And he took his hands, this is all I saw was just him massaging his hands.”

He was comforting the little boy, who had expressed fear that his autism would put him on the “naughty list” this year. Santa even shared a special message with Landon, telling him, “It’s okay to be yourself.”

Johnson put the picture of Santa and Landon on Facebook to thank the mall.

After posting the photo to Facebook, she received an outpouring of love and support.

“There’s actually that magic still there,” Johnson told the station. “That’s what everyone wants this year is that magic.”

Since it was posted Sunday, the photo of Santa and Landon has gone viral, receiving nearly 100,000 likes and over 30,000 shares.

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