(NEW YORK) — You could call him St. Nicholas, Jolly Old St. Nicholas, Kris Kringle, the man in the big red suit or even the man with the white beard, but the only name one New York man will answer to is this: Santa Claus.
That’s because it’s the name on his driver’s license and the only name he’s answered to since he legally changed his name last March.
“There are so many problems in the world today. I want everyone to be happy, even if it’s just for a moment. I want to make you remember what it’s like to be a child,” Claus told ABC’s New York station WABC.
For 54 years, Santa Claus was known as Frank Pascuzzi, a construction worker and caterer in Copiague, N.Y., according to the New York Post. He is also a father of four. His son was born on Christmas Day and was thus given the middle name Yule.
Lest any nonbelievers think Santa Claus, who with his long white beard and jolly nature has been told his whole life he resembled the famous guy, is not real, he showed his New York State driver’s license to WABC to prove he is indeed Santa Claus.
“My wife is very happy that I don’t have to change the marriage certificate, so it still has my old name on it, but she said it was a little weird to go into her boss to change the medical insurance because her husband is now Santa Claus,” he told the station.
Claus had to undergo a background check before a Supreme Court justice in Suffolk County would approve the name change, the Post reported.
Once he passed, with flying reindeer and jingle bells, of course, the state issued the change and Claus continued his tradition of showing up at Christmas parties and spreading holiday cheer.
“”It’s tons of fun!” he told the Post. “Everyone wants to talk to me. Everybody wants to be my friend. My Facebook page has gone insane.”
Copyright 2012 ABC News Radio
Rafael Romo and Emanuella Grinberg, CNN
Aria Hangyu Chen, Special to CNN
Theodore Schleifer, CNN