Grab your box of tissues. A story out of Tennessee that is equally heartwarming and heartbreaking is getting a lot of traction for making us all believe in Santa Claus again. Engineer and businessman Eric Schmitt-Matzen stays busy during the holiday season each year by playing Santa. The former Army Ranger truly looks the part and loves his role of bringing Christmas joy to kids each year, but a recent event almost made him hang up his red suit for good.


A nurse from a hospital Schmitt-Matzen often visits as Santa called him with an urgent request. A gravely ill 5-year-old wanted to see Santa. Santa managed to get there in 15 minutes where he was greeted by the boy’s mother who handed him a toy to give her son. Santa entered the ICU with the toy and met a boy who changed his life forever. He told the boy that he was his “number one elf” and gave him the present. The little boy told Santa that he was dying and asked for Santa’s help. Santa assured him, “When you get there, you tell them you’re Santa’s Number One elf, and I know they’ll let you in.” Comforted by this, the little boy gave Santa a big hug.


The boy then asked, “Santa, can you help me?” While in Santa’s arms, the boy took his last breath. Santa’s hug was help enough for the little Christmas angel. Santa was utterly heartbroken by the event but will continue playing Santa.

Terminally Ill 5-Year-Old Boy Dies in Santa's Arms