Colombian taxi driver in Bogota doubles as Santa

World Today

During the months of November and December in Christian cultures, a white-bearded man, wearing a red coat and trousers, is a familiar sight – mostly on street corners and in department stores.

He’s called Santa Claus, Saint Nick or Kris Kringle, and in Bogota, Colombia, you can find him driving a cab.

CGTN’s Michelle Begue has more.

Colombian Miguel Angel Fonseca makes his living in Bogota driving taxis, but he looks like he should be driving a sleigh.

“Eighty percent of the people who get in the car say, ‘It’s Santa Claus!’,” Fonseca said. “And, when they finally give me their destination they say ‘Sir.’ So, I joke and say, ‘What, I’m not Santa anymore?'”

Angel didn’t need reindeer and a bag of toys to convince the kids. This is their happiest time of the year, and Miguel’s

“Sharing joy is what I like the most,” Fonesca said. “Not just with children, there are adults who want to take their picture with me too.”

His special vocation started 10 years ago. The Santa Claus working at Colombia’s Family Welfare Agency dropped out last minute and a woman recognized Fonseca’s resemblance, and asked him to step in.

Since then, he has been hired by companies such as Coca-Cola, Colombia’s International Airport operator and several shopping centers to be the face of their holiday campaigns.

Santa Claus is a symbol of kindness and generosity and has become synonymous with gift giving, but Fonseca believes people should focus less on Santa’s image and more on his values and live those values year-round.

“Any time of year, adults should be patient and tolerant with children,” Fonseca said. “We must strengthen children’s fantasies, hopes and dreams. This helps them preserve their innocence.”

During the year Fonseca leaves behind the reindeer and sleigh and jumps back into his yellow cab. But he keeps the beard all year, and most importantly the jolly spirit of Father Christmas.

“A family reunion is always at the center of the holiday season, being with parents, grandparents everyone!” Fonseca said.