Joseph Taylor, an out-of-work sign spinner, donned a Santa outfit Sunday and spun some holiday magic while panhandling in Balboa Park.
But it would take a Grinch to toss Taylor, 31. He was seeking donations for Chica, his 6-year-old long haired dwarf chihuahua. She has five infected abscessed teeth, he says. Needs surgery.
Fortunately, the Whos of Whoville (from Dr. Seuss’ “How the Grinch Stole Christmas”) surrounded the newly lit Old Globe “Grinchmas” tree behind Taylor. Backed him up.
“Security here hasn’t bothered me because the theater’s closed,” he said. “When the theater’s open, I clearly got to be further away from this tree.”
But with the “entertainment business shot,” Taylor said, his appearance offered park-goers a small taste of musical cheer.
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He played Christmas tunes on a bluetooth speaker, including “All I Want for Christmas is You” by Olivia Rose Olson from the 2003 film “Love Actually.” He handed out unsigned “Warm Holiday Wishes” cards. He invited people to pose with him.
Donations also help him pay the rent. “Greatly appreciated,” said Taylor, a graduate of Highlands High School near Sacramento.
“I’ve got a whole list of things to use my money for,” he said. “I’m doing everything I can. … I don’t have a job right now because my employer got sick with the COVID … and before that he got hit by a train. So his luck’s not good right now.”
Taylor said Sunday was his second day at the 22-foot tree, lit for the 15th year in an online ceremony. He plans to return “every single day, past Christmas.” He also launched a GoFundMe drive — a page called Healing Baby Chica.
“I’ve got the suit, make kids happy,” he said. “It is a small way of giving back.”