A suburban man has been stealing smiles as “Mobile Santa” for the last three holiday seasons.
Tom Davis, 54, of Montgomery, had the idea in 2020, when COVID-19 was isolating everyone.
The single father and newly empty nester had decorated a sleigh and purchased a Santa costume for a Toys For Tots event, but it was canceled due to the virus.
“I thought, ‘the kids will want to see Santa,'” Davis explained. “So I loaded the sleigh onto my trailer and began driving around with music.”
Kelly Moore Gossett, who lives nearby, was one of the first to notice what Davis was doing.
“Everyone in the neighborhood adores him. “There are kids who stand in line and watch,” Moore Gossett explained. “He receives letters and has a Facebook page. Initially, word of mouth was used, but now he posts his map and volunteers to drive him.”
Davis’ selfless gesture meant a little more to Moore Gossett. The mother discovered she had IgA nephropathy, also known as Berger’s disease, shortly after she turned 30.
“There’s a seven-year waiting list, and I’ve had people offer to donate — but there’s never a match,” she explained.
“Mobile Santa” contacted her after she posted a video of her son, Michael, reacting to Davis. He said Michael’s reaction “made his day,” and Davis gave the youngster a brand new bicycle.
Moore Gossett explained, “My son waited five seconds and was riding it around in the parking lot.”
Davis stops to take pictures with families and hand out candy canes as he drives through Montgomery and nearby Oswego neighborhoods.
Davis installed a mailbox on his sleigh, allowing children to leave their Christmas lists with him.
He admits to being shy and reserved, but something changes when he puts on the Santa suit.
“I can be having a bad day, and as soon as I put on the suit and go to the first houses — I feel renewed,” Davis explained.
“Mobile Santa” hasn’t just brightened the faces of children and families. Davis drove to Aurora’s Elmwood Terrace Nursing and Rehabilitation Center on Monday night.
“I didn’t have any routes, and they had everyone congregate in the main room.” “I parked my truck near the window and turned on some old-school Christmas music,” Davis explained.
Davis asked to go inside to spread some joy and stated that he “didn’t want to leave.”
Davis described them as “tickled to death.” “They were overjoyed to see me.”
Employee Ashley Dombrowski, who lives nearby and invited Davis to visit, said her patients couldn’t stop talking about it on Tuesday morning.
“It took them away,” she explained. “We had a couple of residents in tears.” COVID has been difficult for us.”
When asked if he has a donation link, Davis declined.
“I appreciate it,” Davis said, “but I’m not doing it for the money.”
If you’d like to see if you’re a kidney match for Kelly Moore Gossett, fill out this questionnaire and mention her name and birthday of Oct. 19, 1989.
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