OCEAN SPRINGS, MS (WLOX) - The back room at Title Cash is full of Christmas surprises. More than a dozen bikes fill the room, as well as dolls and toys of all sorts. Much of it was purchased by a Biloxi man named Roy Mathieu.
Before the doors open, the gifts have to be sorted and arranged. Store manager Nancy Borges puts the finishing touches on the tree. The doors open and the children come in, ready to say hello to Roy, who plays the role of Santa. There are elves to help the process along.
One by one the children come, and they leave with their hands full of goodies, all smiles. But the day delivers something even more important to Roy.
"Joy, happiness, love and hope," Mathieu said.
As for why Roy does what he does every year, he looks back on a lesson he learned early in life, from his father.
"Well, my dad told men that a man who has a million dollars might be rich but the richest man there is a man who has a dollar in his pocket, that's the richest man there is," Mathieu said. "The man who has a dollar in his pocket, and I have the dollar in my pocket."
More children and more toys, and then Roy receives his own gift, a recognition of his incredible spirit of giving. The people at the business heap praise on the man who plays the jolly old elf, including store manager Nancy Borges.
"He is the spirit of Christmas. He actually puts Jesus in the season," Borges said. "He is so generous and so giving and this is his third year in helping our local office here. We try to do something for the community each year at Christmas time to help those less fortunate than us."
And of course, there was only one way to end this Christmas Eve celebration, with a big thank-you to Roy. And Roy says he has no plans to ever stop handing out Christmas cheer.