The idea of having ‘different’ Santas has taken the world by storm. I appreciate the outpouring of love I am receiving from all over the world, but I’m just Santa.
The Mall of America’s first black Santa Claus is a former member of the Exchange family. Capt. Larry Jefferson, “Santa Larry” as he is affectionately known to kids and adults, donned a Santa suit and full beard as he visited with his former Logistics team, and made a surprise appearance for HQ associates.
Jefferson is a wounded warrior and Gulf War veteran who worked at Exchange HQ in 2014 as an intern in Logistics. He retired from the Army in 2015, and was a member of the Army Reserve for 25 years. He was one of four Santas chosen to appear at the “Santa Experience” attraction at the Mall of American in Minneapolis, Minn., selected from 1,000 attendees at a Santa convention in Branson, Mo. this summer.
Santa visited LG leadership: (left to right) Karen Stack, EVP/chief logistics officer; Jay McCartin, VP logistics operations; COL Karen Fleming, deputy director of logistics; Alan French, VP logistics fulfillment; Tom Lozier SVP supply chain transportation
Now, with his military duty behind him, Santa Larry’s new mission, he said, is to spread joy, peace and happiness, and to share the true meaning of the season. Following the media frenzy that accompanied his arrival to the Mall of America, Jefferson said he has remained humble. “The idea of having ‘different’ Santas has taken the world by storm. I appreciate the outpouring of love I am receiving from all over the world, but I’m just Santa.”
When asked how it felt to be back at HQ as Santa, Jefferson said, “Exchange folks are like family. They helped with my transition into the workforce after I returned from overseas. I just love being Santa.”