By on December 23, 2015

Myron Benford

Myron Benford has been delivering toys on Christmas Eve to children around Detroit for more than four decades. The 71-year-old man converted a Dodge minivan to look like a sleigh, complete with reindeer welded to the front, that seemingly “floats” on snow. He hands out 200 to 250 toys to children who need Christmas, he told the Detroit Free Press:

Oh, it’s a year-round commitment. People think it’s just for one day. I’ve been preparing for this all year long. The day after Christmas I start packing up more toys, trying to wrap up more toys. Trying to find closeouts and so forth and all. So that when I come here, I’m ready to service any kid I see out there on the street.

Benford is Santa.

Myron Benford

Benford said he’s had a few sleighs over the years, including some type of Volkswagen that he’s chopped and shortened. But this current sleigh, a Chrysler minivan of some vintage, stays holed up in the “North Pole” (aka Downriver) until its readied for Santa’s run on Christmas Eve by a team of elves.

Check out a 2011 video about Benford:

Benford is a retired Wayne County Road Commission employee, according to this 2010 profile by the Metro Times. He volunteered in the red suit and beard before taking on the persona by himself years later. Benford said he buys toys — with his money sometimes — on sale after Christmas and stores them to use later that year to deliver in his sleigh.

“It’s just the idea of seeing the fantasy of that sled pull up in front of your house and you get out, give ’em a bag of toys and disappear. It really builds up their feelings. It’s just miraculous,” he told the Metro Times.

Yup, this guy is Santa.

I swear my allergies always act up around December. Or someone must be cutting onions.

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