GLOBAL ECONOMY

In heartwarming move, WestJet airline brings Santa Claus to Dominican town

Grab some tissues, WestJet has done it again.

Last year the Canada-based airline released a heartstring-tugging video that went viral that showed Santa asking travelers at an airport what they wanted for Christmas and surprising them at the baggage carousel with their wishes.

The company did a repeat performance in one of its most popular destinations: the Dominican Republic.

“Twas a day before Christmas, on a faraway isle. A small town where our friends live, a place full of smiles,” starts WestJet’s new video, which was released Monday. “Yes, we’ve been to this town many times before, but this time was different, there was a miracle in store.”

The company built a blue sleigh and brought it in November to the Puerto Plata community of Nuevo Renacer on the northern part of the island.

When residents pressed a button next to a video screen on the sleigh, they found themselves in a video conference with Santa – dressed in company blue instead of red – who asked what they wanted this holiday season.

“I would like a washing machine,” one woman said. A young girl asked for a doll; a young couple asked for a crib. One man – identified in the video only as Cristiano – wanted a horse for his carriage.

The company’s volunteers then set out to get the gifts and threw a holiday part on the beach – complete with a Christmas tree and mounds of fake snow.

In addition to the party and the gifts, WestJet also unveiled a new playground in the community.

Renacar is one of the four places WestJet flies to in the Dominican Republic. Since 2012, the company has built 23 homes there as part of its charitable efforts with the charity Live Different.

In an additional video released Sunday, Corey Evans, manager of WestJet’s sponsorship, community investment and experiential marketing group, said it’s really important to them that the company is part of the long-term development of the area and its residents.

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