Boy Dies In Santa Arms While Making His Final Wish.
This story got national attention. Eric Schmitt-Matzen who was a mechanical engineer in Tennessee decided not to play the role of Santa and give up his role as St. Nick. He was deeply shaken by the death of a five-year-old unnamed boy. He had done hundreds of Santa roles to bring joy to children.
Eric was 60 years old who always brought plenty of smiles on children’s faces as Santa with his bushy white beard, rosy cheeks, and twinkling eyes.
One day he got a call from his friend, who was a nurse working in a local hospital. His friend told him that a five year terminally ill boy wanted to meet Santa before his death. With little time left, Eric rushed to the hospital without putting on his full outfit.
After meeting with the boy’s family, he went into the Intensive Care Unit alone to meet with the boy. Eric told the boy that he heard that he was going to miss Christmas that year. The boy replied in great pain that they were telling him that he was dying.
Eric told him, “Really, well you’re not going to miss Christmas! The elves already have your present. We knew you wanted this for a long time.”
Then he gave the boy a toy and said, “I brought it up to him and he could barely unwrap it, so I helped,” “He saw the PAW Patrol and that put a grin on his face and he kind of laid back on the pillow.”
Eric did his best to comfort the boy and broke down in tears as he recalled the moment.
Then Eric asked the boy, ‘Can you do me a favor?’ “Sure,” the boy said. Eric said, “When you get up to those pearly gates, just tell them you’re Santa’s number one elf.”
“I am?” the boy asked. “You sure are. I’m sure they’ll let you right in.” Eric said. “They will?” again the boy asked. “They’ll just take you up and give you a big hug,” Eric said.
The boy quietly looked at Eric and asked, ‘Santa can you help me?’ and then he passed away. Eric then felt the boy go limp.
“I looked back to the window, and that’s when the mother started yelling and screaming,” he said. “They came running in, I handed them their son and I took off running, literally. (I was a) basket case for three days after that.”
Eric decided to give up the role of Santa for a while. But he decided to continue because of the joy he had brought to so many children. He worked an event shortly after the boy’s death.
Eric said, “I cried all the way home. I was crying so hard, I had a tough time seeing good enough to drive.”
“When I saw all those children laughing, it brought me back into the fold. It made me realize the role I have to play.” Eric said.
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