If you Google the number for Santa Claus, a Southern California phone number pops up. But when Children in Macon started dialing it from their local area code, they’d connect to one unsuspecting man: Scott Chalkley.
“I’d pick up and not know what was happening,” Chalkley said when those first calls came through eight years ago. “Little by little, I pieced together that people were trying to call Santa Claus.”
Chalkley lives in Raleigh, North Carolina now, but he still has his 478 cell phone number from when he grew up in Macon. He called into On Second Thought to share how he’s become Santa to about a thousand misdialing middle Georgia kids for nearly a decade.
“I’ve probably gotten over a thousand voicemails,” Chalkley shared. Kids read off Christmas wish lists, profess their belief that Santa’s real, and sometimes plead for him to call them back. He’s saved many of those messages, though he says not all of them are intelligible.
This year, he uploaded his favorite voicemails to his website, For A Good Claus. Chalkley hopes to use the voicemails to raise money for United Way of Central Georgia’s Merrie Christmas Project, which “spread[s] Christmas joy with presents, trees and food throughout the Central Georgia community.”
“The kids of my hometown have made Christmas special for me for a long time, so I wanted to make Christmas special for them,” Chalkley reflected. “This charity seemed like the best way to do it.”
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