Boy Believed Muslim Accountant Was Santa. Years Later, The Pair Still Share A Special Bond.

“This was four years ago, and we still exchange gifts to each other. "

In 2013, when Alfie Rose was about 2 years old, he spotted a man he believed to be Santa Claus walking past his front door in south London. Alfie, now 6, and "Santa" — whose real name is Mr. Hussain — have since forged a special bond that continues to this day.

Though it would have been easy for Hussain, a Muslim man with a billowy beard who works at an accounting firm near Alfie's home, to ignore the toddler, he turned around and gave him some money, further bolstering the youngster's belief that he was, in fact, Santa. 

Over the course of the last four years, Hussain has grown closer to Alfie and his family, bringing gifts for him and his older sister each year on Christmas and on their birthdays. Recalling the first time Alfie and Hussain met, Alfie's mom, Tracy Ashford-Rose, tells BuzzFeed News she remembers her son telling her he had seen Father Christmas.

Hussain "got three houses away and came back to knock on my door; he said he couldn't pass without giving a gift as my little boy thought he was Father Christmas," Ashford-Rose explained of the pair's fateful first meeting. "This was four years ago, and we still exchange gifts to each other. He comes to see Alfie and my daughter Hayley on their birthdays and gives gifts, he never forgets the dates."

"We now call him Grandad Christmas. We see him throughout the year, he shakes Alfie's hand, and has a cuddle. Christmas wouldn't be the same without him now," Ashford-Rose added.

Though Alfie still believes he's pals with Santa himself, professional photographer and family friend Amanda Taylor-Purchase, who took photos of Alfie and Hussain's most recent meeting this Christmas, noted that Hussain doesn't really look like Old Saint Nick. "Obviously it's just the beard association for Alfie," Taylor-Purchase explained to BuzzFeed, describing Hussain as a "little fellow, very skinny, wearing a business suit." 

"Alfie doesn't see the color of skin, the color of clothing, he sees the color of someone's heart," Taylor-Purchase added. "This guy looked so friendly and so welcoming and he saw his big white beard and thought he was Santa Claus."

After years of receiving gifts from Hussain, Alfie turned the tables last week when he and Taylor-Purchase took two bags filled with treats down to surprise his friend. "I don't want to make assumptions but if he's not a Christian man, if it's not his faith, but he's still doing all of this for a little boy, he's just going above and beyond," Taylor-Purchase concluded.

Cover image via Jack Frog I Shutterstock

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