Santa Claus took time out of his busy Christmas schedule this past Monday to pay a visit to children at a famed Sherrills Ford restaurant, Linebergerâ€™s Cattle Company on N.C. 150.
For the fifth year in a row, the restaurant hosted a toy drive to benefit area children. However, this year was a first for the restaurant: Santa made a guest appearance. But it wasnâ€™t the first time jolly old St. Nick has been at Linebergerâ€™s.
â€œI was here last Monday, too,â€ said Santa. â€œI saw about 20 children and 30 adults.â€
Heâ€™s heard many of the same requests he hears in other places â€“ electronics, Ipods, cell phones â€“ and some unusual requests as well.
â€œI had a little boy who asked me for a Bible,â€ said Santa. â€œI also had three children who asked for real, live elephants.â€
But why did Santa appear this year when he hasnâ€™t in previous times? Look to Ralph and Janice Starling, owners of Linebergerâ€™s Cattle Company, who earlier this year discussed inviting Santa to their restaurant.
â€œWe noticed that kids at the mall were getting their pictures made with Santa for a charge,â€ he said. â€œWe felt that the attention was being diverted away from the childrenâ€™s visit with Santa to the picture. Itâ€™s not about the photography.â€
â€œWe had one child and father who came in who couldnâ€™t afford to eat with us,â€ she said. â€œThe child visited with Santa for 15 minutes.â€
Peyton Sloan, 8, from Sherrills Ford was visiting Linebergerâ€™s with her mother, Jodi.
â€œI asked Santa for a real baby carrier,â€ she said.
While Peyton was quiet and shy having her picture taken with Santa and his elves, her mother said Peyton had no problem telling Santa what she wanted for Christmas.
â€œShe has no problem talking, just ask her teacher at school,â€ said Jodi. â€œItâ€™s so convenient that Santa came to visit us here. It means something to the kids that heâ€™s close.â€
According to Ralph Starling, the toy drive will continue through Dec. 22.
Linebergerâ€™s Cattle Company is located on N.C. 150 east in Sherrills Ford.
For more information on the toy drive, contact Ralph and Janice Starling at (704) 483-2276.
by Jon Mayhew