Times are tough in Michigan — real tough. The emergency manager sent to save Flint, Michigan from bankruptcy is going to great lengths to slash budgets and increase revenue. His efforts included a plan to sell the antique Santa and reindeer Christmas display that has adorned city hall for decades. They went up for auction at the starting price of $5.
In other words, there was no longer a job for Santa in Flint, Michigan.
But a local resident, Melodee Mabbitt, says her hometown doesn’t need more bad news, so she and her husband bid $150 for the jolly old elf, his sleigh and four reindeer that sit atop Flint’s city hall during the holidays.
But they were quickly outbid. Then Mabbitt’s mother said she’d match their bid. Mabbitt also posted what was happening on Facebook. And a short time later …
“I was getting phone calls from people saying, ‘Here’s 200 bucks. Go save that Santa!'”
And Mabbitt did, for $1,330.
“We thought that was too sad a story for Flint to have to live with,” Mabbitt says. “We have enough going on in this town without taking our Santa and auctioning him on the Internet.”
She says the group wants to put Santa back to work at city hall.
“He’s lovely. He’s one of these antique Santas you really can’t find anywhere anymore. Replacing him would have been really hard for the city to do, especially given the situation we’re in.
“He’s a symbol of hope for everybody in the community and for children,” Mabbitt says.