How did Buddy the Elf begin?
It all began a few years back, when a friend of mine and I decided to do a funny Christmas themed album, with Buddy the Elf being at the center. The album was a big hit with our friends on social media, so we decided to create a Buzzfeed article called “My friend spent an entire day as Buddy the Elf.” The story took off on social media, especially in the Charlotte community, and we ended up on the news and being featured in the Charlotte Observer.
Each year, I have continued to participate in events as Buddy, entertaining people wherever I can. I created an Instagram account last year to document my return to Charlotte from the North Pole each year during Christmastime.
Why do you dress up each year?
While taking pictures in public, we took note of the incredible reaction from everyone watching (obviously, you get those who look at the whole thing very strangely). The best part of being Buddy is seeing peoples’ faces light up when they witness this tall, goofy looking guy running around town as an elf.
Have you always wanted to inspire happiness?
I’ve wanted to make a difference in peoples’ lives for as long as I can remember, which is ultimately why I am pursuing a career in physical therapy (when I’m not working as an elf at Santa’s workshop...obviously). My goal has always been to put a smile on someone’s face or just get a good laugh. People have such different experiences growing up, which can make the holiday season an amazing time or a really difficult time. The messages from people who have seen my Instagram pictures and Buzzfeed article mean the world to me - to know that I cheered someone up makes me happy. If I can spread even a little cheer throughout my beloved city of Charlotte, I feel my mission has been accomplished. Being Buddy is a lot of fun and nothing makes me happier than seeing other people laughing and enjoying themselves.
What are some of your favorite elf shenanigans?
Some of the highlights that received the best reactions were: when I attempted the “split” scene on the escalator from the movie Elf, joining in on some exercise classes like cardio funk and yoga, and walking through the Charlotte Douglas airport.
Elf rules to live by?
Buddy lives by the Code of the Elves, which are:
1. Treat every day like it’s Christmas!
2. There’s room for everyone on the nice list!
3. The best way to spread Christmas cheer is by singing loud for all to hear!
Where do you think Buddy the Elf will pop up next?
At this point I’ve been to so many places in Charlotte that I don’t even know where I haven’t been - my family has even gotten involved with taking pictures as Buddy since they are so entertained by it. I’m pretty sure my niece thinks I’m a real elf at this point and that I must have Santa on speed dial.
What charities are you involved with?
The past two years I have been involved with events with the Arthritis Foundation, Carolinas HealthCare System, Amtrykes (to help build bikes for people with disabilities), Giving Tree Charities , Panthers tree lighting, and the YMCA. I’ve enjoyed being part of these events and love what they stand for. No matter where I end up after school, I plan on being involved with events during the Christmas season so I can continue spreading Christmas cheer by singing loudly for all to hear!
If you could change one thing about the world what would it be?
For people to love each other more - we all come from the same place and we will all leave this earth one day. I want people to love each other no matter what our race, religion, or political backgrounds are. One of my favorite quotes I try to live by is “Too often we underestimate the power of a touch, a smile, a kind word, a listening ear, an honest compliment, or the smallest act of caring, all of which have the potential to turn a life around.”
How do you think Buddy the Elf was born out of your childhood experiences?
I was fortunate to have an amazing mother and father who always told me to be myself and enjoy life as much as possible. My dad and I loved watching movies together growing up, which is where I probably got my passion for dressing up and entertaining people. Both my parents have been generous to charities, especially during the holidays, which taught me to give back to the community as an adult. I think seeing how they were kind to people helped guide me to the career I am following today, along with the activities I’ve been involved with during Christmas as Buddy.
How long have I been in Charlotte?
I originally moved to Charlotte in 2010 but have moved around a bit since then. I’d say, I’ve been in the Charlotte area for a total of five years now, including the past two years - I’ve technically been living in Wingate while going to school.
Longterm career goals?
I am about to begin my final year of the Wingate Doctor of Physical Therapy program in Wingate, NC. I always wanted to make an impact on others and felt that one of the best ways would be by helping people get better from the injuries they’ve suffered and surgical procedures they’ve gone through.
When you're not an Elf, what do you like to do for fun?
In my spare time I like to exercise, write, act, lip sync in the car, watch movies, and spend time with friends and family.
Remind us again where we can follow your shenanigans?
I started up an Instagram account last year to spread some cheer through Buddy’s adventures around Charlotte.