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Santa Barbara Resident Fields Santa’s Calls

santaphone.jpgTelevision stations and newspapers love reporting tales of good samaritans helping out needy families and children during the holiday season. The stories begin filtering into the daily news beginning in November and continue being reported in national news outlets through the New Year.

Santa Barbara resident John Dickson is a good example of how you don’t need a lot of money or resources to spread good cheer during the holidays. Throughout most of the year, he fields visitor information calls at the hotline 1-800-SANTABARBARA. But the phone number is also only one digit away from 1-800-SANTACLAUS, and he earned the nickname “Accidental Santa” after answering scores of calls from children and their parents hoping to talk directly to the jolly man in the bright red suit.

This year, he enlisted over 100 volunteers to help him answer the calls, including local college students hoping to spread some goodwill. The phone line is open from 8 a.m. to 8 p.m., and Dickson said anyone who enjoys talking to children can help answer the calls.

Thousands of children have called the hotline over the past week, much to Dickson’s delight.

“Doing this is more important than my job,” Dickson said. “Santa Claus is really a big deal ? a gigantic deal ? for these children.”

Who’s your favorite holiday good samaratin?

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