The story behind OnStar’s involvement in the search for Santa Claus
On Dec. 24, 1955, the Continental Air Defense Command (CONAD) Operations Center in Colorado Springs, Colorado, received a call from a young child wanting to know Santa’s whereabouts. The youngster was following directions from a local newspaper ad that urged children to call Santa’s phone number to speak to him. However, the child reached a wrong number, which happened to be that of CONAD.
Col. Harry Shoup was in charge that night and directed his operators to find Santa’s location and report it to every child who called in. He later became known as the “Santa Colonel.”
The crew enjoyed delighting children so much it began a tradition that carried through when CONAD transitioned to the North American Aerospace Defense Command (NORAD) in 1958. Today, NORAD continues to locate and protect Santa Claus, thanks to satellite systems, high-powered radars and jets, as he makes his yuletide journey. On Dec. 24, volunteers staff phones and computers to answer calls and emails from around the world.
Since 2009, OnStar has teamed up with NORAD to help magnify the wonder of Christmas for thousands of children on the road. Each Christmas Eve, OnStar Members and their families can push their blue OnStar button to learn Santa’s location as he journeys across the globe spreading presents, goodwill and joy. And when children who are traveling or who have recently moved fear Santa won’t know where to find them, a helpful, live OnStar Advisor is there to assure kids that their presents will be under the tree on Christmas morning.
“Sharing the holiday spirit with our Members and their children each year on Christmas Eve is one of the true joys for our Advisors, and has been for the past 12 years,” says Stacey Unold, director Contact Centers Operations, OnStar/GM. “They genuinely look forward to sharing Santa’s location with all the kids and hearing the wonder in their voices.”
If you’re not in your vehicle, call 877.446.6723 or visit http://noradsanta.org/ to check Santa’s progress. Or, visit @NORADSanta on Facebook and Twitter with the hashtag #NORADTracksSanta for his location. St. Nick’s location is updated continuously.