By Tim Alamenciak
She had us figured out from the get-go.
"I know who you are," said the girl, who was around 7 years old. "You're Santa's little helpers!"
And so it was that a little girl unmasked me and Josh Tapper as we dropped off her gift box from the Toronto Star Santa Claus Fund.
She politely said “thank you” after outing us.
Tapper's signature elf ears and the present in his arms may have tipped her off.
The second round of deliveries for the Toronto Star Santa Claus Fund on Dec. 10 was much like the first (which Jennifer Pagliaro wrote about here) but with a few twists.
For starters, we were working out of a new depot on Wellington Street under the command of Gene Domagala.
Domagala ran the depot with a general's discipline. A 53-year veteran of the Santa Claus fund, Domagala keeps the coffee fresh, the boxes sorted into their proper neighbourhoods and volunteers on their toes.
Tapper and I grabbed the nearest pile first thing in the morning and started loading it into the tiny Volkswagen City sedan that we had use of. Little did we know that the pile contained a strange bit of Christmas coincidence — maybe even magic.
Thanks to a youth wasted playing Tetris, packing the car was a breeze and, with map in hand, we were off to our territory.
The pile of presents was to be delivered to houses in the area of Caledonia Road and St. Clair Avenue W. Just like the previous week, many groggy — but happy — faces greeted us at the door.
One house was a little different than all the rest.
We didn’t suspect anything when we pulled up to a squat, brown house near the end of our delivery run.
Tapper rang the doorbell and glanced at the names on the two boxes.
The presents were for Joshua and Tim.
It was a Christmas miracle.
Okay — on the scale of Christmas miracles, this is pretty far below Tiny Tim shedding his crutches, but the kids were thrilled. Once their mom realized we weren't joking, she was thrilled too.
Left-to-right: Little Tim, big Tim, little Josh, intern reporter Josh Tapper.
So little Josh, 4, and Tim, 6, welcomed big Josh and Tim into their home, showed off their tree and excitedly eyed the red boxes we carried.
After a quick photo, which little Tim seemed to enjoy much more than little Josh, we said our goodbyes and ventured back into the cold, our hearts a little warmer.
There's still time to donate to the Santa Claus Fund: click here.
Tim Alamenciak is a radio room intern with the Toronto Star.