Terminally ill Five-Year-Old Boy Passes Away in Santa’s Arms…
Eric Schmit-Matzen has a cool job, he’s a professional Santa. At 310lbs, six feet tall with a bleached white beard, this guy looks the part in every way.
Recently Eric received a phone call from a local hospital in Knoxville Tennessee, asking him to come to the hospital dressed as Santa for one very special occasion.
He didn’t have time to dress up, the caller was a friend of his who told him to just bring his suspenders.
After a 15-minute drive to the hospital, Eric was introduced to the mother of a terminally ill five-year-old boy who handed him a toy she’d bought on TV and asked him to give it to her son for Christmas.
Eric knew why he was there. He told the staff and family “If you think you’re going to lose it, please leave the room. If I see you crying, I’ll break down and can’t do my job.”
The family and staff decided to wait outside the ICU and watch through the window.
Eric walked in and the first thing he noticed was how fragile the child was. He sat down on the bed and had this conversation with the little lad.
From Knoxville News Sentinel:
‘Say, what’s this I hear about you’re gonna miss Christmas? There’s no way you can miss Christmas! Why, you’re my Number One elf!’
“He looked up and said, ‘I am?’ I said, ‘Sure!’
“I gave him the present. He was so weak he could barely open the wrapping paper. When he saw what was inside, he flashed a big smile and laid his head back down.
‘”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 on to him.
His mother ran in screaming ‘No, no, not yet!’ Eric handed the child to her and left the room as fast as he could.
Eric went on to say how he spent time in the Army and had seen some difficult things in his life but couldn’t imagine how the doctors and nurses dealt with that type of thing daily.
He told KNS that it was almost impossible to drive home from crying so hard.
It took him awhile to get back to work after that. He though at one time he might not be able to “play the part again.”
He did eventually get back out there. He said it made him realize the role he had to play “for them and for me.”
Let us not forget the hurting during this time of year. If possible, go out of your way to visit your local hospital and share your time and love with others less fortunate. That’s what Christmas is about, giving.
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Featured Photo: NPR