CABOT, Ark. – Many know the story of Buddy the Elf, a Christmas classic for more than a decade. 
We found another Buddy in the Natural State who has also been spreading Christmas cheer for just as long. 
“Buddy’s been doing this for as long as I can remember,” said Capt. Joshua Henson with the Cabot Fire Department. 
Unlike the “Elf” movie, Buddy Merritt is a small business owner in Cabot. He and his wife run Mean Pig BBQ.
But similar the movie, Buddy has always had a giving spirit. Even though Mean Pig shuts up shop for the holiday, many still got to eat Buddy’s food for free. 
“It means a lot to all of us here at the station,” Capt. Henson said. “It’s really hard not being with family and friends. They’re unwrapping their presents and you miss a big part of that.”
Thanks to Buddy, Cabot firefighters also have presents to unwrap: a turkey and a ham. 
“All of that will be gone by tomorrow morning,” Capt. Henson said. 
The gifts may not go a long way for hungry firefighters, but their gratitude will last well into the new year. 
“It’s pretty awesome of Buddy,” Capt. Henson said. 
Buddy’s generosity makes Christmas at the stations even more special because the firefighters know their meals came straight out of the small business owner’s pocket. However, he’s not one for the spotlight.
Buddy didn’t know we were doing this story Monday, and even his friend who told us about his Christmas tradition just found out about it.  
“That’s just the kind of guy he is,” Capt. Henson said. 
Buddy doesn’t play favorites. Capt. Henson said he also makes sure the police department, nonprofits and even veterans overseas are well fed at Christmas. 
Buddy’s generosity isn’t just for holidays but every day of the year. Capt. Henson said he even pays for their meals when he runs into them at other restaurants. 
“He’ll step up out of the kindness of his heart and pay for the crew’s breakfast,” Capt. Henson said. “There’s nothing like it.”