Meeting Santa is always a magical moment for any child. For three-year-old Mali Williams-Cody, it was no different when she was taken to meet Santa at Cleveland Centre shopping mall in Middlesbrough, UK. There was however a problem. Mali had difficulty talking. But that did not deter Santa. Instead, he used sign language to communicate with the little girl, much to her joy.
The video of the two, communicating in sign language has been watched over 532,000 times on YouTube. The person who took the video explained that Mali struggles to communicate with speech and language and has been attending a special school to help with her communication, where she learned sign language.
When Santa found out from Mali's mother that she could sign, he started asking her through sign language if she wanted a doll for Christmas. His action has drawn warm response from readers. Many are saying that he is the "real Santa".
One reader said: "You can't fool me mall-Santa, I know you're the real Santa." Another said the Santa deserves a medal. The video, local media noted, had similarities to the 1994 movie Miracle On 34th Street.
Her mother Suzanne Williams told the Middlesbrough-based Gazette newspaper: "It was an amazing moment. Mali was smiling for ages afterwards."
A spokesman for the shopping centre said: "Santa wants to make sure every child who visits really does experience what this time of year is all about. Santa will take his time with each and every child and will try and put a smile on their faces. This has got to the most truly amazing few minutes we have experienced."