Santa takes time to thank vets

Posted at 12:03 AM, Dec 22, 2016
and last updated 2016-12-22 00:03:09-05

It's a holiday tradition at the Buffalo Niagara International Airport. Jolly ole' Saint Nick, takes a break from the North Pole to welcome home some American heroes. 

While Santa’s elves aren't at the airport to help, the Lancaster High School Choir is filling in just fine. 

Over the years, you may have seen this Santa during your travels. This is Santa's 40th year of welcoming home weary travelers. Forty years of laughter, waves, and even pop quizzes.

“Why is Santa at the airport?” asked Santa. 

Kris Kringle takes pride in spreading cheer, but Santa comes to the airport for one special reason.

“They're over there fighting for our rights, our country. They're not seeing their families regularly, like a lot of people do,” added Mr. Claus. 

With four days until Christmas, it's crunch time for the big guy. Believe it or not, he still finds time to visit the airport and try to brighten the day of at least one person who has served. 

Wednesday night, Santa just so happened to be welcoming home an old friend. 

“He's a Vietnam Veteran. He's a master sergeant in the army. And I just want to welcome him home the right way. Back when he came home from Vietnam, they didn't give him a welcome home the way they should have,” said Santa. 

It was a tearful reunion for Don Hale and his old friend, Santa. 

“I know what I've done. It's just my way to say thanks.”

Santa might not bring you everything you want this year. But, for anyone who has served, and is wrapping up a long day of travel here in Buffalo, he's going to try his hardest to make sure they are welcomed home, the right way.