News & Events for Chesapeake Bay

Yes Virginia, There is a Bass Pro Santa

Date Posted: 2020-12-21
Source: Lisa Suhay, news editor

Editor's Note: In July 2020, during the first pandemic lockdown phase in Norfolk, VA, Waterway Guide News Editor Lisa Suhay set up a place in front of her home at the base of an old tree where children can deposit letters to “the fairies” and fairies then write back with words of encouragement or advice. Fairy Pen Pals has taken off and is now visited by children worldwide seeking solace from the stresses of pandemic life. When Bass Pro Shops in Hampton, VA, was presented with this little girl’s letter they put on their Santa hats and her wish is coming true.

When Isabella Doty, age nine, of Norfolk, VA began writing to the fairies during the pandemic she never dreamed that the jolly old elf from the North Pole (Santa himself) would decide to take over, or that he has a direct line to Bass Pro Shops in nearby Hampton to make her Christmas wish come true.

Isabella is the only child of a single mother who is a pre-school teacher here, struggling to make ends meet.

Like many children, Isabella believes that Santa can do more than bring toys - he can perform miracles. Each one of dozens of letters sent to the fairies over the past several months was a plea for help for her mother.

Then she realized that Santa is an elf so she took her case to him via the letterbox at Fairy Tree where children write to the fairies, elves and other magical creatures for comfort and advice.

Santa's helpers in Norfolk, VA sent the request to Bass Pro Shops in Hampton where Events Coordinator Krystal Belcher immediately agreed to help. 

 Tom Lang (L) & Calvin Hunter (R) Bass Pro Nitro Staff Team  

"We sent her a little stuffed dog, a $100 gift certificate for equipment and passed on a letter from Santa telling her that when the weather gets better she and her mom will spend a day fishing with one of our Nitro Pro Staff Team," Belcher says. "We will supply the equipment and bait for the day as well."

According to Belcher, it will be either Calvin Hunter or Tom Lang hosting mother and daughter for the fishing adventure of their lives.

“This is one extremely excited girl,” says Isabella’s mother, Kate Doty. “I think she associated the one time we went fishing together with happy times and that’s what she’s holding on to as a wish."

Isabella's mother adds, "Isabella is a huge fan of fishing shows (including the Bass Pro Shops' Nitro Pro Staff Team). It’s hard to believe this is happening for her. I’m so grateful to them.”






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