It still feels way too early for “Grandma Got Run Over By a Reindeer” to be blasted at ear-splitting volume at your local mall, but it’s never a bad time for a tale of holiday cheer. Careful though, this is the sort of story that will have you bawling into your egg nog.
A homeless man in Canada has been put through the emotional wringer this month as he experienced moments of heartbreak followed by something akin to a Christmas miracle. Fernand Gautreau has been living on the streets of Moncton, New Brunswick for roughly three years as he’s dealt with a set of challenges including a battle with alcoholism. Every holiday season, he dresses up in a Santa Claus costume and roams the streets in a bid to spread good cheer.
This year, Gautreau awoke to the rotten surprise that all of his belongings (including his Santa suit) had been snapped up by thieves. Understandably this unlikely St. Nick was emotionally shattered by the robbery and word spread about Gautreau’s situation. Luckily, there were some kind hearts ready to help Gautreau.
A woman that met Moncton’s street Santa at the House of Nazareth homeless shelter shared the story online to help bring some attention to this situation. Here’s what Aleisha MacPherson told CBC about her decision to get the man’s story out there:
“The look in his eyes when he was telling me this, it really played on my heartstrings.
“It really hurt my feelings that someone would do that to someone that’s obviously less fortunate than someone else… It’s just wrong.”
Let’s get to the cheery side of the story, shall we?
MacPherson’s post about Gautreau caught the attention of Claude St-Coeur and his partner Sharon Leger. St-Coeur elected to dust off his own Santa suit from his neighborhood Kris Kringle days and gift it to Gautreau along with a collection of new clothes. The gifts were wrapped and brought to the shelter for Gautreau to open. In an interview with Global News, St-Couer shared what he thinks this gifted Santa suit can provide.
“I am hoping with this here it will help him have confidence again with himself and in people and I promise to stay close to him and keep talking to him and you never know what can come out of it.”
Other kind souls also provided presents for Gautreau including a new bike and a new cart. The generosity and care of the community has inspired the merry again Monctononian to get help for his alcohol issues in the new year.
St-Couer shared with CBC that the whole experience truly touched his heart:
“The joy in that gentleman’s face, it was just priceless. The feeling in his heart, you could tell — no money can buy that.
“It was so heartwarming. It brought tears to his eyes and I was tearing up too.”