April Gr8 Acts of Kindness winner makes Christmas last all year

Updated: Apr. 28, 2021 at 11:18 PM CDT
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TUCKERMAN, Ark. (KAIT) - It’s not Christmas, but this month’s Gr8 Acts of Kindness gifts us a story of heart and soul.

It comes in the form of a man known well by nearly everyone in Tuckerman.

Terry Geaslin knows six bus routes all by heart... traveling the backroads of Jackson County, delivering precious cargo.

“Bye! Have a great day,” Geaslin said. “You too,” a young boy said as he exited the bus.

Geaslin is “Mr. Terry” to the kids and occasionally you’ll hear them call him Santa.

“It gives me joy,” Geaslin said. “It is real joy.”

Not just at Christmas, but all throughout the year.

“He’ll be at a restaurant. He’ll be at Walmart,” Whitney Cooper, a Tuckerman Elementary teacher said. She nominated Geaslin for the Gr8 Acts of Kindness.

“He’ll be out here in the parking lot, and he always has a child right there always talking his ear off and he loves it. He gravitates toward those kids.”

Oftentimes when they need it most.

“He is the best Santa helper there is,” Lisa Allen stated.

Allen’s granddaughter had been sick around Christmas time. Her immune system is fragile, so during COVID, there would be no going to see Santa.

“So a few days before Christmas, he drove to Brookland and drove down the driveway in his white truck,” Allen said. “You know they looked out the window and there was Santa in the truck. He talked to them for probably 30 minutes.”

For Geaslin, or “Mr. Terry,” kindness never stops.

“I drive a bus route every morning and when I get to the bus shop in the morning, he greets me with a smile like he does all of us and he has our buses already lined up for us every morning with the heat going which is wonderful on those cold mornings,” Lori Smith, a fellow bus driver and fourth-grade math teacher said.

And some of those early mornings came after late nights running the scorer’s clock for basketball games. It’s a job he’s been doing for more than 35 years.

“This is my school. This is my hometown, love it here,” Geaslin said. “I mean Tuckerman is a great place to live.”

And work--especially when you have a badge like this.

So we made the trek to Tuckerman to surprise “Mr. Terry, aka Santa.”

Terry Geaslin of Tuckerman, who some people in the town call "Santa", has volunteered as...
Terry Geaslin of Tuckerman, who some people in the town call "Santa", has volunteered as Santa's helper in the past several years.(Source: KAIT-TV)

“We talked to the children both young and old alike in this area and they told us to come to Tuckerman today to honor a man who lives every day to make kids happy,” I said. “You are the next winner in the Gr8 Acts of Kindness.”

“First Community Bank and KAIT would like to present you with this cash,” I explained. “Three hundred, four hundred, five, six, seven, eight. $408 dollars!”

“On behalf of First Community Bank, we would like to present you with this check for $408 and say ‘Thank you’ and ‘Congratulations,’” Allen Williams, Community President of First Community Bank said.

“Thank you,” Geaslin said.

It was tough to hold back the tears as “Mr. Terry” saw what his kindness really means to teachers and staff.

“It’s overwhelming,” Geaslin said. “I was really shocked.”

As the joy he brings is multiplied over and over again.

“Even high school kids call me ‘Santa Claus... some of them.’” Geaslin said.

Even under a mask, there were smiles.

“It is a joy to my heart to make kids happy,” Geaslin said.

And that he delivers.

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