MARIETTA - With a bright red suit, curly, white beard and tiny square glasses, 6-year-old Daylon Maliki looked just like Santa Claus Friday, and he even had the "Ho! Ho! Ho!, Merry Christmas!" down pat.
The Reno boy brought smiles to the faces of dozens of residents at the Emeritus at Marietta assisted living facility in Reno Friday evening, as he marched proudly up and down the halls spreading Christmas cheer and handing out gift bags full of candy.
"Are you with a church group?" asked resident Katherine Woods, 89.
Photo by Ashley Rittenhouse
Six-year-old Daylon Maliki hands a bag of candy to Emeritus at Marietta resident Arthur Johnson Friday evening.
"No," responded the boy's grandfather, Tracy Morris. "He's just a little boy that likes to have fun."
It was Maliki's grandmother, Peggy Williams, who came up with the idea for him to pass out candy to the residents. He replied with a "Yeah, mamaw!" and so they filled up 75 bags to hand out.
"He just loves to do things like this," she said. "We have a neighbor lady that's 70-some years old and he always does things for her. It seems like older people he likes better than younger kids. They give him more attention because of his problems and they work with him better."
6-year-old Daylon Maliki dressed as Santa Claus for residents at the Emeritus at Marietta assisted living facility in Reno Friday evening.
Maliki handed out bags of candy and asked residents what they wanted for Christmas.
Williams noted that her grandson has autism, attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) and bipolar disorder, and he likes getting attention just as much as he enjoys giving others attention.
"He's really active and hyper and he likes to do things to make him feel like he's wanted," she said.
"It was good!" he said, after handing the goodies out to the residents.
He surely felt wanted Friday, as many residents threw their arms around him as he greeted them.
"I love children and I'm a hugger," Woods said, chuckling loudly as she admired Maliki's outfit. "I just thought he was wonderful."
Nancy Lent, a kitchen helper at the facility, said she thought it was great that the boy visited the residents at the facility.
"The residents love kids," she said, noting that this time of year, there are lots of folks who visit the facility, such as singing groups.
When Maliki asked resident Alberta Haught what she wanted for Christmas, she responded, "A little Santa Claus like you!"
"He's having a good time," she said. "Anything different to perk the place up a little bit."
Resident Ed Vannoy, 80, said the boy's visit really put him in the Christmas spirit.
"It's a thing of giving; it's Christmas and that's what it's about," he said.