A cardiologist is turning into Santa this holiday season to bring some Christmas cheer to premature babies in the neonatal unit at the Mayo Clinic Hospital.
For the past 14 years, Johnson has been trading his scrubs for a Santa suit at Christmas to visit an area where not just any Santa will go.
“Yeah, we’ve had a long journey with Doctor Johnson, so it’s pretty special he’s here,” says Heather Walker, whose one-month-old daughter Emily is a patient of Dr. Johnson’s.
Johnson had taken on the Santa role since his residency when he was flagged as having the right body type to wear a Santa suit.
“They wanted me in the intensive care unit with the babies because there’s wires and things that some other Santas weren’t comfortable with,” Johnson says. “I understood where all the wires and tubes were going.”
Johnson’s annual transformation into Santa Claus took place before he became a father to two children.
“Merry Christmas mom and dad,” Johnson says with a wave toward the camera while holding a child in his arms.
“I’m glad they’re getting to experience it,” he says, “What all the other kids are getting to experience.”
Johnson may be a cardiologist posing as a fake-bearded Santa, but he is touching the hearts of many newborn babies for real.