Terminally-ill boy, five, dies in Santa Claus’ arms after fulfilling his last wish to see him

Terminally-ill boy, five, dies in Santa Claus’ arms after fulfilling his last wish to see him

If you ever needed a story that truly enveloped the meaning of Christmas, this is it.

The holidays aren’t about presents, the tree, the cartoons about snowmen and Santa, or any of that. They’re about selfless giving; helping those who have no way of returning the favor because it’s the right thing to do.

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Eric Schmitt-Matzen has played the role of Santa Claus every year for the past 6 years and ends up doing 80 gigs during the holiday season!

You would think such a busy guy wouldn’t have the time to take personal requests, but this story will surprise you.

Schmitt-Matzen received a call about a month ago after getting home from his job as mechanical engineer and co-owner of Packaging Seals and Engineering. The person on the other end of the phone was a desperate nurse who told the man of a terminally-ill 5 year-old whose last wish was to see Santa Claus.

He wanted to change into his full Santa gear, but the nurse insisted that the boy didn’t have much time left and told him that the suspenders would have to suffice.

When he arrived, the room was packed with loved ones. Just outside the door, the mother of the young boy handed Schmitt-Matzen a gift for the boy. He then asked all of the people to leave the room, because if he saw them crying, then he would begin to follow suit and wouldn’t be able to truly be Santa Claus.

With everyone watching through the windows of the Intensive Care Unit, he gently sat on the boy’s bed.

“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!’

The boy looked up at the man who so closely resembles our holiday hero and asked “I am?”

He assured him that he was and handed him the gift.

The Daily Mail reports the happy, yet tragic exchange that followed:

‘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.’

The little boy then had a big question for Santa.

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

Schmitt-Matzen then asked the little boy to do him a ‘big favor’.

‘When you get there, you tell them you’re Santa’s Number One elf and I know they’ll let you in,’ he told the boy.

‘They will?’ the child asked.

‘Sure!’ Schmitt-Matzen confidently replied.

The little boy sat up and gave him a big hug. He had one more question: ‘Santa, can you help me?’

Before he could answer, the boy passed away in his arms.

Schmitt-Matzen spent 4 years of his life with the Army as part of the 75th Rangers. He claims what during that time, he’s seen his share of “stuff” but the sight of this little boy passing away in his arms truly shook him to his core.

He says he bawled the whole drive home and even had to pull over a couple of times. He also says that he thought about the boy all day every day for the next two weeks and the incident made him consider hanging up his Santa suit for good.

Luckily, he remembered why he’d donned it in the first place; to see the looks of pure joy on the face of children who saw him.

If this isn’t what Christmas is truly about, then I don’t know what is.

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