Back

Christmas 0732

Miracle at Sears

A True Christmas Story (Really!)

A few years ago I was between consulting gigs around Christmas time.  When I opened the bill for my Sears charge card, there was a note.  It invited anyone, and particularly seniors, to apply for a temporary sales clerk position during the holidays.  Being senior-ish and suspecting I wouldn’t get anything in consulting until after the New Year, I decided to give it a whirl.  After a couple of days training on how to run the cash registers, etc., they placed me in electrical supplies because of my technical background (and because they needed someone there).  Well, it was a good change of pace for me.  I didn’t make much money, but what the hey.

As Christmas approached the pace really picked up, and on the night of Dec. 23’rd the store was jammed.  I was swiping charge cards, bagging merchandise, and ringing up some serious sales commissions.

Whenever a person handed us a charge card, we were supposed to read the name and thank them in a personal way.  “Thank you for shopping at Sears, Mr. Smith,” etc.  Anyhow, to cut to the chase, I looked up and saw an elderly gentleman standing in front of my register.  He had a long, snow-white beard, was a tad rotund, had rosy cheeks ... in brief, this old boy was a dead ringer for Santa Claus.  For a moment I thought he must be an off-duty Santa from one of the mall stores.

He had some minor doo-dad (I can’t remember what), and with a smile he handed me a Master Card.  I wanted to tell him that he looked just like Santa Claus, but debated whether that would be polite.  And of course he clearly must have known that anyway.

So I bagged his purchase, swiped his card, and had him sign the slip.  Before handing the card back to him, I glanced at the name.  When I read it, I thought it must be a joke.  According to the Master Card (which was genuine ... otherwise it wouldn’t have been accepted by the system) his name was Kris Kringle.  I looked up at this old fellow and his eyes how they twinkled, his dimples how merry!

Bug-eyed, I asked, “Are you ...”

With eyes totally devoid of guile, he smiled at me and said, “I am.”

And with that, he took his little bag and disappeared into the crowd.  I stood there with gaping jaw, trying to catch the other sales clerks’ eyes, pointing at the crowd that had closed in around him and squawking, “It’s him!  It’s really him!”

But, everyone was busy and no one heard me.  That night when I got home, I recounted the incident to my wife.  She smiled and looked at me like she believed every word.  (She always does that.  What a gal!)  But I could tell that she was thinking that it was time for me to be getting on with my consulting career.  I was inclined to agree with her.

But it was Santa Claus.  Honestly, it really was!