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ABC7 Pay It Forward: Santa Claus receives Christmas gift

A beloved Santa Claus struggling with illness receives a generous Christmas gift as part of our 'Pay It Forward' series.
December 20, 2013 12:00:00 AM PST
A beloved Santa Claus struggling with illness receives a generous Christmas gift as part of our popular "Pay It Forward" series, where we surprise Southern Californians with the chance to give $500 to someone deserving.

Bob Elliot may be his legal name, but everyone knows him as "Santa Bob".

For years, he has brought smiles and every once in a while - a tear to big kids, little kids, even pooches. But this December, he contracted pneumonia and was hospitalized for weeks.

Due to his illness, he hasn't been able to put on his beloved red suit once.

"Of all the times of the year for him to get pneumonia and to be hospitalized, the one season he looks forward to the most," said Susan Satya.

She contacted us after seeing our "Pay It Forward" segments.

"I want to pay it forward to Santa. How can we let Santa, you know, not be OK during Christmas time?," said Susan.

Susan took us to Santa Bob's second home away from the North Pole to surprise him.

Our ruse? Susan told him to expect her so she could show off her dog's Christmas outfit.

"There was something so wrong about a Santa who had brought so much joy to so many people struggling at Christmas time so we wanted to bring you some joy. Channel 7 is helping me 'Pay It Forward' to you for all the joy you've brought all those kids," said Susan who then surprised him with the cash.

Bob instantly thanked Susan and was overwhelmed with emotion.

"I'm at a loss for words, you know, I never expected anything like this at all," said Bob.

Being Santa Claus helps pay for Bob's entire year. He lives almost entirely on Social Security.

"It's a miracle actually. This will help me out quite a bit," said Bob.

Both say, this season especially, that being able to give is the greatest gift.

Before we leave, Santa Bob shares a special message for all Eyewitness News viewers: "Everybody I wish you a very Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year! Ho, ho, ho! Ho, ho, ho, ho ho!"


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