93-year-old World War II veteran Bob Smiley got a well-deserved “thank you” for his service to our nation, from a local Santa Claus while resting on a wall during one of his regular walks inside a local mall near the Santa display in Wilmington, Delaware.
WWII veteran Bob Smiley and Santa were captured in a picture-perfect moment at the Concord Mall in Wilmington, Delaware, as St. Nick got down on one knee and thanked Smiley for his service. – Fox News
The photo, that has since gone viral was taken by a Gina Wilbur, who happened to be seated on a bench, while she waited for her stepson, who was shopping in a nearby store. When Wilbur, whose great-grandfather also served in WWII, saw the very touching moment unfold in front of her, she quickly captured it with the camera on her phone.
On her Facebook page, Wilbur wrote:
Christmas shopping with Cavan and took a second to sit on a bench near Santa’s workshop… then Santa steps away from his Chair… he walks over to a veteran sitting on the wall… as Santa approaches, the veteran stands and Santa takes a knee. I hear Santa telling the gentleman, in a soft voice, of others he knew who served. He shakes his hand with genuine gratefulness thanking him for his service and returns to the children. Best moment of my day. #concordmallsanta#gratefulness #showlove
Members of Smiley’s family spotted the viral photo as it made the rounds on Facebook and reached out to Wilbur because they were so moved by the image.
Smiley, a father of 10, with 26 grandchildren and over 26 great-grandchildren met with Gina Wilbur, the woman who took the now viral photo, and Santa Claus himself.
“We owe a debt of gratitude to men like this that have made such a life-changing decision to give of themselves, be willing to lay down their life even, for other people,” Santa told FOX29 Philadelphia.
Smiley told Wilbur that he normally sits on the bench where she was seated when he decided to sit on the wall, where he caught Santa’s eye.
Gina Wilbur gave Mr. Smiley a note her step-son (who was shopping with her at the mall when she spotted the touching moment between Smiley and Santa) wrote for him, telling him that she was not allowed to read it. Smiley told her he would hang it up next to other notes he’s received from young Americans thanking him for his service.
Smiley told the Fox 29 reporter: “We all went, we all served,” he said. “Every boy in my high school graduating class all served. Out of 35 boys, five were killed and they were my friends for 13 years of my life.”
The NFL players who kneel for our flag, need to take note of this beautiful story about Santa, and how he kneeled for a 93-year-old man who put his life on the line for our flag and everything it stands for…