Sometimes Santa needs a little help in finding children that might not be at home for the holidays. In Pearland, two young children had a surprise visit from Santa at a time and place that was totally unexpected.
Tessa, 7 and Ava, 2 are staying in a home near MD Anderson at the Medical Center in Houston while their dad recovers and regains his strength from a bone marrow transplant due to Acute Myeloid Leukemia. Their mom and grandmother are also with them. The family lives in Boone, North Carolina.
While doing some shopping at a nearby Randalls, the grandmother, Lottie Oliver, noticed a woman with attractive hair. Oliver was looking for a good salon to get hers done. She boldly asked the woman where she had her hair done and was told Kathy’s Barber and Beauty Shop in Pearland.
While Traci Hartley stayed with her husband at the hospital, Oliver took the two little girls with her and found Kathy’s in Pearland.
“We were worried that they would not be too happy to have a customer bring two small children but it was just the opposite. The people there were so nice and so kind to them,” Hartley said. “I got an appointment for the next Saturday and the four of us would get to go.”
Amanda Chappell, owner, was so touched by their story. The father, Ryan, had been diagnosed with AML two years before and treated in North Carolina. He completed chemotherapy but had a relapse in April. He came to Houston to have a bone marrow transplant at MD Anderson and did so once a match was found. This was in August. He then had to stay within 20 miles of the hospital for 100 days.
Due to a few illnesses since, the time has been extended and the family is still here.
Chappell wanted to do something for them and wished she had a Santa who would visit the girls.
“But where does one get a Santa? Who would have the outfit? I had no clue but I told my husband and friends what I was planning and then I prayed to find one,” Chappell said. “When I went to work the next day, our second client wanted me to do his hair. He had been there once before but I had not cut his hair at that time.”
The client wanted his hair and beard trimmed.
“I couldn’t help but think what a great Santa he would be. The hair color, the perfect beard. I got my courage up and asked if he had ever worked as Santa. To my astonishment, he said yes, he was playing Santa at the Pearland VFW on Saturday from 10 to noon. I needed a Santa at 12:45 and he said he would do it,” Chappell said.
Then Chappell, her mom Kathy Nolan, staff, and friends started providing gifts for the family and money for the parents to shop for Christmas.
When the group arrived for their appointment Saturday, they had no idea what was about to happen.
Santa arrived and the little girls were delighted.
“It was a Christmas miracle and it brought such joy,” Chappell said.
The Hartleys felt the same.
“We have had a tough two years and have grown so much in our faith. We didn’t know what to expect in Texas but we have found such wonderful people here and we are so thankful to Amanda and her wonderful shop,” Traci Hartley said. “There is a bigger story here and we will remember this always. Everyone at Kathy’s Barber and Beauty Shop not only feel like friends but family.”
Kathy’s Barber and Beauty Shop is located at 2424 South Houston Avenue in Pearland.
Story by Karolyn Gephart