Does someone not like Santa Claus 1

Santa Claus decides to die in Vienna

Vienna / North Pole - December 25th is not a good day for Santa Claus. "From Hero to Zero," he says, there is nothing you can do about it. Once that day he stood in the snowstorm on a Czech motorway for five hours until someone finally took him away. The picture he took of himself while waiting is at least selling well.

Much worse, however, was the day when an Australian took him with him in his car, just so as not to kill himself by driving into a tree. Or the one where he was attacked by a bear. Not to mention all the revolutions and wars.

For 50 years, says "Traveling Santa", he has been hitchhiking, mostly in Europe or South America, because the USA is already so "overseas". He doesn't take off his work clothes while surfing on Hawaii's beaches. He earns the money for the trips at night by selling self-made postcards - currently every evening in Vienna.

"It's Showtime", he always mumbles to himself before entering a pub, the audience usually reacts enthusiastically. "Santa, Santa", the girls often scream, there is singing, photography and toasting. Only with the fanatical Christkind faction is it sometimes not so well received, especially old Catholics like to abuse him as a fraud.

"I usually trigger very strong emotions," says Santa and tells how he was hugged by a man for half an hour in East Berlin. "I've been waiting for you all my life," he is said to have said and never let go until passers-by offered their help.

When people ask him where the reindeer are (at home, not suitable for the city) or where he comes from (North Pole), he answers patiently and honestly, and shows his passport to persistent doubters. He just has to lie sometimes.

For example when he visits hospitals and children with cancer ask him if they can take their dog to heaven. Or when a boy in the Rio orphanage wanted to know why nobody loves him. "Everyone loves you," he replied, "they just can't always show it."

He's not just in Vienna to celebrate Christmas: Traveling Santa is looking for a place in the cemetery. He had a heart attack a few months ago and is now walking around with crutches and an electric roller - so it is time to look around. He likes the city, it's not too big, not too small, and he gets along well with the people. Only the smoke in the bars gets on his nerves.

But he doesn't want to lie down to die yet. In January he wants to go to Portugal, from there to Morocco and then to Algeria. And he also has plans for the 24th: "Handing out gifts." (Tobias Müller / DER STANDARD, print edition, December 24/25, 2011)