In 2013, when Alfie Rose was about 2 years old, he spotted a man he believed to be Santa Claus walking past his front door in south London. Alfie, now 6, and “Santa” — whose real name is Mr. Hussain — have since forged a special bond that continues to this day.
Though it would have been easy for Hussain, a Muslim man with a billowy beard who works at an accounting firm near Alfie’s home, to ignore the toddler, he turned around and gave him some money, further bolstering the youngster’s belief that he was, in fact, Santa.
Over the course of the last four years, Hussain has grown closer to Alfie and his family, bringing gifts for him and his older sister each year on Christmas and on their birthdays. Recalling the first time Alfie and Hussain met, Alfie’s mom, Tracy Ashford-Rose, tells BuzzFeed News she remembers her son telling her he had seen Father Christmas.
Hussain “got three houses away and came back to knock on my door; he said he couldn’t pass without giving a gift as my little boy thought he was Father Christmas,” Ashford-Rose explained of the pair’s fateful first meeting. “This was four years ago, and we still exchange gifts to each other. He comes to see Alfie and my daughter Hayley on their birthdays and gives gifts, he never forgets the dates.”