Sure there are a lot of terrible things happening in the world today, but this story is a great reminder of how we need to look at all of the blessings that God’s given us and take a moment to be thankful for all of the goodness in our lives…
All a terminally ill Nashville boy wanted for Christmas was to meet Santa Claus — and he did, and then died in Old St. Nick’s arms.
The 5-year-old was minutes away from death when a nurse at the Tennessee hospital where he was being treated called Eric Schmitt-Matzen, a 300-plus-pound mechanical engineer who looks like a real-life Kris Kringle.
Watch real life Army Ranger veteran Eric Schmitt-Matzen (Santa) tell the heartbreaking story of his special time with the unnamed 5 year old terminally ill boy:
His 6-foot frame carries 310 pounds, leaving “just enough of a lap for the kids to sit on,” he says with a gentle Kringley chuckle right out of Central Casting.
No fake facial fuzz for this guy. Schmitt-Matzen’s snowy beard is the real thing, albeit regularly bleached to maintain its whiteness. His shag is so spectacular, in fact, it won first place in the “natural full beard, styled moustache” division of a 2016 national contest sponsored by the Just For Men hair products company.
He’s professionally trained. Custom-tailored in red. Was born on Dec. 6 (that’s Saint Nicholas Day — are you surprised?) Works approximately 80 gigs annually. Wife Sharon plays an authentic Mrs. Claus. His cellphone, with a Jingle Bells ringtone, continually counts down the days until Christmas. Even his civilian attire always includes Santa suspenders. –USA Today
The 60-year-old, who slips into a Santa outfit for about 80 gigs a year, didn’t even have time to change into his regular getup.
He rushed to the hospital 15 minutes later in only his Santa suspenders — though he still looked the part with his long, white beard and prodigious belly. The nurse handed him a gift she had ready for the sick boy.
“When I walked in, he was laying there, so weak it looked like he was ready to fall asleep. I sat down on his bed and asked, ‘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 recalled to Knoxville News Sentinel.
The unnamed boy perked up, using his last burst of energy to unwrap the toy.
“They say I’m gonna die,” the boy told Schmitt-Matzen. “How can I tell when I get to where I’m going?”
Schmitt-Matzen replied: “When you get there, you tell ‘em you’re Santa’s number one elf, and I know they’ll let you in.”
The boy then gave Santa a last hug.
“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,” Schmitt-Matzen told the paper.
The boy’s mom ran in moments later screaming, “No, no, not yet,” which caused all the nursing staff to break down in tears — and left Schmitt-Matzen devastated.
“I spent four years in the Army with the 75th Rangers and I’ve seen my share of [stuff],” he said. “But I ran by the nurses’ station bawling my head off. I know nurses and doctors see things like that every day, but I don’t know how they can take it.”