Meet Les Heinemann, Baybrook Mall's Bluegrass-Picking Santa Claus
|Photo by Creg Lovett|
Les doesn't get peed on every day, but it happens and he takes it in stride. The show must go on. That's not what bothers him anyway. You don't get hugs from 300,000 kids without having a heart, and it doesn't come without heartbreak. Heinemann says he wishes he could communicate with the autistic kids and hear their wishes too. He sees them every year, and hopes things get better for them soon.
Some of those kids who were babies back when Les first came to Baybrook are in high school now. They don't always get their picture made with him as teenagers, but some do. And the ones who don't will come back eventually, either in college or afterwards with their own children.
In 2003 Les posed for pictures with my dog, Willie, for the first time. Last year it was my niece, London, who didn't smile in her photo. In 2012, he'll pose with my baby son, Dylan, hopefully for the first of many Christmases.