A long-time Wal-Mart greeter has become a bit of a celebrity among customers after years of using jokes and carols to lessen the stress of holiday shopping.

David Francis has worked at the Brampton, Ont., Wal-Mart location at the corner of Main Street and Bovaird Drive since 1996. He's worked several different jobs, but currently serves as a greeter.

Francis once planned to go into public relations, and sees entertaining as part of the job.

"Even when I was going through high school I knew I wanted to be in a career where I was working with people," the greeter told CTV Toronto's Scott Lightfoot earlier this week.

"I do take my job seriously, but I like to add a little fun to it."

The store's manager said customers "gravitate" to Francis on days that he's working.

"David is so special. He's so special and unique. (Customers) just love him," Manager Brad Marchand said.

Many shoppers know Francis by name, just as he recognizes frequent customers and greets them with a smile, hug, song or impression.

"Ultimately I don't know what's going on in their life, but it doesn't take long -- if a customer comes in with a straight face or what have you -- to make them smile."

When he sees a downtrodden customer, Francis is quick with a rendition of a familiar carol, or a Christmas-themed joke.

"Why does Santa Claus have three gardens?" He asked one customer as she left the store. She paused to ask why.

"Because he likes to ho ho ho," he cracked. The customer left the store laughing.

Later, customers paused near the store's entrance to listen to the greeter belt out "O Holy Night."

He said customers thank him for the laugh, especially during the stressful shopping season.

"More often than not, I get the same reaction every time: 'Thanks Dave, I really needed that.'"