Throughout the holiday season, I’ve often pondered how much joy individuals who portray Santa Claus experience.
There must be a tremendous feeling of fulfillment at the end of each day, even if it can’t be an easy gig—the pressure to meet the expectations of every child you see would be enough to buckle me.
No matter how down they are, a good Santa can lift any child’s spirits by making them smile, and the knowledge that they are bringing a little enchantment to a world that needs it so much must be a comforting thought.
Mechanical engineer and co-owner of Packaging Seals & Engineering Eric Schmitt-Matzen, who plays Santa Claus at various events and performances every year, has endured a difficult and heartbreaking experience.
An emergency call from a Tennessee hospital reportedly reached Eric while he was driving home from work in 2016.
Eric told the media that a nurse had phoned him because a sick five-year-old kid’s last request was to see Santa. The boy was at the hospital with a terminal illness.
The boy’s mother met Eric at the hospital and gave him a Paw Patrol figurine, which her son had requested for that Christmas. Because Eric didn’t want to embarrass himself in front of the child, he asked the boy’s parents to wait outside while he met the youngster and accepted the present.
Eric went on to say that he went into the intensive care unit, sat down by the boy’s bed, and asked, “What’s this I hear you’re going to be missing Christmas this year?”
After opening his gift, the boy replied: “They say I’m gonna die. How can I tell when I get to where I’m going?”
Reports indicate that Eric proceeded to request a favor from the boy.
“When you get up to them Pearly Gates, you just tell them you’re Santa’s Number One elf, and I know they’ll let you in,” he said.
The youngster bolted out of bed and embraced Eric tightly. Afterwards, Eric informed the media that the five-year-old died while being held by him.
“He was in my arms when I felt him pass,” the man explained.
“I spent four years in the Army with the 75th Rangers, and I’ve seen my share of (stuff). But I ran by the nurses’ station bawling my head off.”
The tragic event reportedly made Eric wonder if he really wanted to be Santa after all.
The love, laughter, and excitement of the children he encounters resurfaced after he forced himself to attend an event the next day.
It was these moments that initially convinced him to take up the responsibility.
In December 2016, just days after Eric’s story went viral, his version of events was called into question.
Although it was the first news outlet to break the story, the Knoxville News Sentinel admitted in an editor’s note that they couldn’t “independently verify” Eric’s story.
Concerned about the veracity of his narrative, Eric expressed his distress by the criticism.
“I feel like I have been used and then hung out to dry,” he said in a text message, as per TIME.
“I emphasized from the very beginning that I intended to keep my word and not disclose any information that could lead to the folks’ identity.”
- Woman With Cancer Gets Married In Hospital – 18 Hours After, Husband Looks Into Her Eyes And Breaks Down
- A Man Who Died In A Nursing Home, Left Something That Brought The Nurses To Tears
- Close Friend Reveals Health Update About Shannen Doherty In Terminal Cancer Battle
He added: “Now I am being made out to be a liar. I tried to do a good deed, was talked into telling the story of what happened to me . . . and now the press is ridiculing me for standing my ground.”
To put it bluntly, I cried reading this story. If you were moved by Eric’s gesture, let us know in the comments and SHARE this article with Family and Friends!