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Santa writes back to North Carolina third-grader


McADENVILLE, N.C. — When 9-year-old Rylinn Gregory wrote to Santa about his Christmas wishes, the letter was supposed to reach the North Pole by way of a red mailbox at Community Fire Department.

But his grandmother, Sabrina Gregory Hendrix, made a mistake: Instead of getting delivered to Santa’s mailbox at the fire department, Rylinn’s letter got swept up in her regular pile of outcoming mail.

“Two days later, I accidentally grabbed a whole stack of mail, threw it in our mailbox, raised the flag, went all about my day, and I got to looking for the letter,” she said. “A couple days later, I get to the mailbox to check the mail, and there is a letter, and it says, Rylinn Gregory, and it had Santa Claus, 101 Santa Claus Lane, North Pole, on the return.”

Santa, it turned out, had written back.

“Thank you for your letter. My friends at the post office made sure it got to me here at the North Pole,” the letter read. “I have been very busy getting ready for my Christmas Eve trip. Rudolph and the other reindeer are in tip-top shape and are ready for our big night.”

Santa went on to say that Rylinn had made it onto his “nice” list.

“Thanks for sending me your Christmas list. Your grandma sounds like an amazing woman. You are very lucky,” Santa wrote. “It sounds like you’re a big sports fan. I was so glad to see that you had made my ‘Nice List’ but continue to be good and help make this the best Christmas yet! I will work with my elves to see that you get the things you want.”

Santa also asked for something: “I was hoping you might be able to leave me a little snack on Christmas Eve when I visit since I get very hungry by the time I make it to Gastonia,” Santa wrote. “Have a very Merry Christmas!”

“I opened it. I read it, and I sat up there just crying my eyes out,” Hendrix said.

Rylinn, a third-grader at McAdenville Elementary School, said he also was surprised.

“I was surprised and excited and happy,” he said.

“He just kept looking at me with this look on his face: ‘Mawmaw, are you sure you didn’t have nothing to do with this?’” Hendrix asked. “Everybody I know I have told about this letter.”

“This just confirms to other children: Don’t stop believing. Santa is real,” she said.

She added that she was grateful to the Gastonia post office employee who made sure Rylinn received a response. She said that she spoke to the man, but he prefers to remain anonymous.

“I couldn’t stop crying,” she said.

Rylinn said that he plans to write to Santa again next year.

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