One day a year, Sean Fleming forgoes postal blue for a red suit.
Fleming, a rural carrier, dresses as Santa Claus every Christmas Eve to make deliveries along his route in Herndon, VA, a suburb of Washington, DC.
“The faces of the kids have a look of, ‘I can’t believe I just saw Santa Claus.’ It’s a complete surprise,” Fleming said.
But customers of all ages are appreciative. “They take photos,” he said.
Across the nation, other carriers also dress as Santa around Dec. 25, including some who work in the select locations where USPS makes Christmas Day deliveries.
Fleming began his tradition five years ago. To commit to the role, he grows out his beard and lowers his voice to deliver his “ho-ho-ho’s.”
Although he tries to maintain an element of surprise, Fleming said “customers know it’s coming. They have been looking forward to it all year.”
His enthusiasm also lifts spirits at the Oak Hill Post Office, where he works.
“This is my family,” Fleming said, adding that he’s grateful his manager is supportive of his peak season Santa appearances.
“It’s easy to get caught up in what we do,” Fleming said. “As carriers, we are the face of the Postal Service. I want to represent our organization in the best light.”
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