Alberni’s ‘flag lady’ leads double life and loves it

Sally Anderson has donned a red hat, red jacket and white gloves and waved at Alberni's steam train for more than a decade.

Sally Anderson has been busy these days in her role as flag lady and Mrs. Claus.

What an outfit will do for a girl.

Alberni resident Sally Anderson has donned a red hat, red jacket and white gloves and waved at the Port Alberni steam train as it trundles by her house for more than a decade.

With her ensemble, glasses, warm smile and rosy complexion on a cold afternoon, Anderson bears a striking resemblance to Mrs. Claus — Mrs. Santa Claus.

She started at the behest of her late mother 11 years ago.

That winter, she donned a red skirt, Santa hat and red jacket on a whim, waving as the train rode by.

During one winter ride, the character who played Santa shouted to Anderson that ‘I’ll be home late for dinner,’ “and that’s how the legend started,” Anderson laughed.

Anderson’s grandson usually dons an outfit and helps her. “He plays Santa’s elf or Santa’s helper,” she said. “I have more fun than everyone on the train.”

Anderson has a life and activities she’s involved with outside of her role but the line blurs in funny ways. “I’ll be downtown or in a checkout line at a store and people will see me and know me as the flag lady,” she said. She plays the role of Mrs. Claus for free but reaps rewards from it. “It’s a blessing to be able to give more than it is to receive,” Anderson said.

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