Santa grants a Christ­mas wish that he’ ll never for­get

China Daily (Hong Kong) - - FRONT PAGE - By CHINA DAILY

It’s a touch­ing Christ­mas story, but not in the tra­di­tional way.

It’s about a crit­i­cally ill 5-year-old boy who died in Santa’s arms in Knoxville, Ten­nessee, in the United States, ac­cord­ing to a CNN re­port on Mon­day.

The re­port says Eric Sch­mitt-Matzen, 60, a part-time Santa, re­ceived a call from a nurse at a hospi­tal sev­eral weeks ago, say­ing a dy­ing 5-year-old boy wanted to see Santa Claus.

Sch­mitt-Matzen dressed and rushed to the hospi­tal. Walk­ing into the boy’s room, he asked peo­ple to leave if they couldn’t hold back their tears. He picked up the boy and held him in his arms.

Knoxville News-Sen­tinel colum­nist Sam Ven­able, who cov­ered the event, recorded Sch­mitt- Matzen’s ac­count:

“‘They say I’m gonna die,’ he told me. ‘How can I tell when I get to where I’m go­ing?’

“I said, ‘Can you do me a big fa­vor?’ He said, ‘Sure!’

“‘When you get there, you tell ’em you’re Santa’s Num­ber One elf, and I know they’ ll let you in.’

“He said, ‘ They will?’ I said, ‘Sure!’ He kinda sat up and gave me a big hug and asked one more ques­tion: ‘ Santa, can you help me?’ I wrapped my arms around him. Be­fore I could say any­thing, he died right there. I let him stay, just kept hug­ging and hold­ing onto him.”

Sch­mitt-Matzen was so sad that he con­sid­ered quit­ting.

After the story was printed, Ven­able told CNN, “Peo­ple have told me that they were cry­ing when they read it, and I tell them that I was cry­ing when I wrote it.”

Eric Sch­mit­tMatzen, part­time Santa

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