Man dresses as Buddy the elf to meet father for first time – but dad doesn’t get joke

A man who dressed as an elf to meet his biological father for the first time has admitted his dad may have thought he was a “lunatic”.

Doug Henning donned a costume like the one Will Ferrell wore in Elf the movie, jumped up and down, and sang: “I’m here, with my dad,” just as the actor did, playing the character of Buddy.

The only problem was that Mr Henning’s father had not seen the 2003 film, which his son had watched two days before the meeting, giving him the idea.

Doug Henning meets his dad. Pic: @finnandboonthego
Image:Doug Henning meets his dad. Pic: @finnandboonthego

As Mr Henning, 43, continued to bounce on his toes at Boston’s Logan Airport, he sang to his confused parent: “I was adopted, but you never knew I was born.”

He continued: “And now you found me, and you’re here, and guess what: I love you, I love you, I love you!”

As the two men embraced, Mr Henning’s father, Raul, said: “Oh my son, my boy,” as others whooped in the background.

“When he came out of the airport, he probably thought I was a lunatic,” Mr Henning told

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“It was a really good way to break the ice. We ultimately sat down as a family and watched the movie.”

Mr Henning is the first of Raul’s children to become a parent, and so as well as gaining a son, Raul has also become a grandfather.

Mr Henning said dressing as an elf was a 'good way to break the ice'. Pic: @finnandboonthego
Image:Mr Henning said dressing as an elf was a ‘good way to break the ice’. Pic: @finnandboonthego

Despite having “amazing” adopted parents, Mr Henning said he had wanted to know more about his background.

A cousin later helped him connect with one of his two biological sisters, and then his biological father, who had not known about him.

“Within a day we exchanged emails and phone numbers,” Mr Henning said.

Since March, the family has connected on Zoom, and his father flew in for Thanksgiving last week.

Doug Henning getting into costume before the meeting. Pic: @finnandboonthego
Image:Doug Henning getting into costume before the meeting. Pic: @finnandboonthego

Mr Henning, who lives in Eliot, Maine, is married with two daughters. He lost his adoptive father about eight years ago.

Raul and Doug discovered they both work in television – as a sound mixer and camera operator respectively – enabling them to talk about people they know in the industry.

Raul moved to the US from Colombia in the 1970s, and now Mr Henning is hoping to visit the country with his family.

Mark Gibson

Graduates in Northwestern University, Evanston, Illinois 1990. Move to Los Angeles California in 2004. Specialized in Internet journalism.

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