Santa grants a Christmas wish that he’ ll never forget
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