EAGLE ROCK (CBSLA.com) — With his jolly smile and real white beard, “Santa Dave” is a crowd favorite at one local mall.

“Everybody knows what I do, what I’m here to do and they all love me and they tell me that every day and that puts a lot of joy into my heart,” said the Los Angeles man who has been posing on his candy cane throne for almost a month.

“I enjoy it, I love it,” he said. “They are my friends, my people.”

But “Santa Dave” didn’t always know his fate would be so festive. It turns out he’s fulfilling his grandfather’s dying wish.

“He said that to the doctors, and to everybody, ‘Have you met Santa? That’s my grandson,’ ” he said.

Most of the year, “Santa Dave” drives a truck and spends holidays with his family.

But he’s estranged from some of his children and is hoping they’ll see him bringing joy to so many other children and perhaps come back to him.

“They don’t know what they’re missing,” he said. “They really don’t know what they’re missing.”


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