Mom Praises Mall Santa Claus for Kindness Toward Son With Autism

A Michigan mom's "thank you" to Santa is taking Facebook by storm.

"I thought, he did a wonderful job and this man needs to be recognized," Naomi Johnson of Muskegon, Michigan told ABC News. "I have had so much positive reaction and people from families with children with autism thanking me sharing their story, giving them hope that they can take their children out and be accepted.

"To give people that hope [by] sharing a simple story about a five-minute conversation that my son had with Santa is just amazing."

Johnson, 32, said it was Friday when she took a drive to RiverTown Crossings shopping mall in Grand Rapids so her son Landon, 6, could see Santa Claus, along with his aunt and four cousins.

"He [Landon] went up there, he told Santa what he wanted and they chatted for a couple of seconds," she said. "We waited for the pictures to be printed and he went back to talk to him again. I look, and Santa's got his [Landon's] hands in his. A couple of minutes go by and Santa is in deep conversation with my son.

"I didn't know what was being said," Johnson added. "I just thought it was really cute, but it wasn’t until moments later that I found out what had happened."

During the drive home, Johnson said she and her sister asked Landon what he and Santa were chatting about, to which he replied:

"I wanted to tell Santa that I had autism," Landon told his mom. "He wanted to know if it bothered me, having autism, and I said, 'Sometimes.' And Santa said it was OK to be who I was."

Johnson said that since her son's story brought her to tears, she felt it was necessary to thank the Santa Claus at the mall in a Facebook post.