Anderson arrived at Toronto Pearson Airport the morning of November 21 only to find a festive holiday party at his gate complete with gingerbread cookies and WestJet representatives in blue Santa hats. There was also a big blue box, and when he scanned his boarding pass, a video Santa Claus greeted him, and after a brief conversation, asked him what he wanted for Christmas.
“I said, ‘Santa, I have everything I want. I’m good,’ and he goes, ‘Seriously, Raymond, what would you like for Christmas?” and I go, ‘Seriously, Santa, I’m happy. I’m content with my life but thank you for asking.’ I realize now that if somebody asks me something twice, pay attention.”
A camera crew followed the passengers onto the plane, where Anderson signed a video release form, joking with a fellow traveller about how cool it would be if Santa was there when they landed. When the plane arrived in Calgary, Anderson made his way to his connecting flight to Fort St. John, missing the action, but if he’d gone to the baggage claim he would have seen his fellow passengers receive everything from a brand new TV to free flight passes.
“I’m curious of what would have happened if I would have gone down there because I didn’t ask for anything; I just said I had all I want.”
It wasn’t until the video was made public a couple of weeks later that Anderson’s friend noticed him in the background and inquired as to what he’d asked for. Given the chance to give his answer again, Anderson admits a new iPad would have been nice, but says he wouldn’t have done it any differently.
:07 “I don’t want anything,” he maintains. “My life is very happy; I’m very fortunate in life to just enjoy what I have. Stuff doesn’t make me happy.”
Anderson hopes that the 34 million plus viewers of the video see the happiness caused by giving to others, and in turn conduct random acts of kindness year round. That could be anything as simple as paying for someone’s morning coffee, which will likely mean more to them than the few dollars it costs.
“That’s really what it’s about, is going through life expecting nothing from other people but giving just because it’s nice to give,” he argues. “It doesn’t have to be Christmas time. It can be any time throughout the year when for one brief moment you can go and change somebody’s life.”
Anderson spent the next five weeks in Fort St. John performing at fundraisers, schools, and holiday parties at the Lido Theatre, sharing his WestJet story along the way.