BUFFALO, N.Y. (WKBW) — In Western New York, it’s not every day you see Santa Claus take flight on his sleigh. But look really close and you just might see a Queen City lookalike this Christmas Eve.
No reindeer, but two 'reindogs', running quick. Pulling a guy, dressed like Saint Nick.
“I’m actually the real hood Santa," said Brandon Johnson of Buffalo.
He's a close friend of the North Pole, on a mission to bring joy to folks in Buffalo.
“I am the first Black elected African American Santa. It was unanimous by elves," said Johnson.
His 'reindogs' Maxine and Chris, they take him everywhere, even giving out gifts.
"Giving out some toys, little items, I got a whole bunch of candy canes," said Johnson.
He started last year, right around this time, making sure his 'reindogs' both got their exercise.
"Since then I’ve just been hopping on my skateboard having them pull me. One viral photo led to a viral video and they were like look at hood Santa riding around the block," said Johnson.
And so it was, the 'Real Hood Santa' got his name, over 6 million Tik Tok views and more than five minutes of fame.
"Oh people love me. It gives them that joy that fulfillment and brings smiles to people’s faces and stuff. Spreading joy to the community, not just Christmas time but year-round," said Johnson.
Around he rides, giving clothes, hats and gloves, with the 'Real Hood Santa Challenge', spreading his message of love.
"Making someone a meal or just giving someone some gloves or a candy cane, just something that’s gonna motivate someone to be like okay, I’m not in this world alone,” said Johnson.
So, as you put out the cookies for Santa and his reindeer. There’s a Christmas message our local Santa wants you to hear.
"Just continue to believe. Believe in Christmas believe in yourself. Don’t give up on things you wanna do and see it through," said Johnson.
This year will go well, because his sleigh is on the ground. It’s actually better for him to have a green Christmas so he and his 'reindogs' can get around.