No One Can Read This Humans of New York Santa Interview Without Bursting Into Tears

Humans of New York / Instagram

One Macy’s Santa’s life story is going viral for all the best reasons (and if you read it, you will need an entire box of tissues)

The thing we all love about Humans of New York is how, whether the stories are tragic or triumphant, they’re always human—including all the highs and lows and real life stuff that makes them relatable to absolutely everyone. And for this year’s holiday season, the Instagram account posted a 15-part series chronicling the life of a Macy’s Santa Claus, and the love, loss, and Christmas nostalgia are causing everyone who reads it to come absolutely undone.

Johnny Tammaro is a New York performer who was interviewed for the series, which has now gone massively viral for all the right reasons.

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“It’s a magic trick, a dupe,” he begins. “Nothing but an illusion. And it starts the moment you walk in the door. Biggest store in the world. Eight full floors of shopping. And Santaland is at the very top. You can take the elevators. Or you can do what I did when I was a kid, and what I still do today: you take the escalators. Up, up, up. Through make-up. Through linens. Through housewares. Around the third floor, something happens. The escalators change to wood. They’re over one hundred years old, these escalators. From the original Macy’s. When you see them, you know: very soon. You’re about to see Santa. Your heart starts racing.”

As he tells his story, Tammaro perfectly captures the nostalgic memories of being a kid visiting Santa at the mall or department store. He also captures the heartbreaking reality of growing up and learning that Santa isn’t real. And he does it all with the backdrop of being a kid who always loved magic and Christmas, who lost his father when he was young and decided he would be the one to make Christmas special for his family forever.

Tammaro talks about raising his own son, and the beauty and heartache that go hand-in-hand when watching your baby grow up.

“Don’t get me wrong, it’s amazing to watch them grow up,” he says. “Every few months you get to say ‘hello’ to a new person. But you have to say goodbye too.”

And then Tammaro tells the beautiful story of when his son grew old enough to learn the truth about Santa.

Seriously, all you can do is go read the full story. But have a box of tissues ready, because you absolutely will need it.

The full story has been online for barely 24 hours, but the internet is already full of people who are losing it after reading it.

Because while the story is about Santa, it’s also about a dad and his love for his family, and his beautiful Christmas memories, both past and present. During the holidays, that really is all that matters.


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