At this time of the year, a multitude of professional Santas don their counterfeit facial hair and yuletide apparel to spread holiday cheer. These individuals commonly work in shopping malls and at private events to maintain the illusion of Santa Claus for the enjoyment of their young fans.
Eric Schmitt-Matzen is the owner of his own business, but during the Christmas season, he also assumes the role of Santa Claus on a part-time basis. Weighing 310 pounds and possessing a plush white beard, he is a dead ringer for Santa. Recently, he received a special request to visit a five-year-old boy at the hospital who was terminally ill and worried that he would miss Christmas.
Upon entering the boy’s room, Schmitt-Matzen encountered the child lying weakly on the bed, on the verge of falling asleep. He sat down on the bed and said, “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 him and said, “I am?”
“Sure!” replied Santa.
He then presented the boy with a gift, which the child struggled to open in his frail condition. Upon seeing what was inside, the boy grinned and laid his head back down.
“They say I’m gonna die,” the boy told Santa. “How can I tell when I get to where I’m going?”
“Can you do me a big favor?” Santa asked in response.
“Sure!” the boy exclaimed.
“When you get there, you tell’em you’re Santa’s Number One elf, and I know they’ll let you in,” he assured him.
“They will?” the boy inquired.
“Sure!” replied Santa.
The boy sat up a bit and gave Schmitt-Matzen a hug, asking one more question before his death: “Santa, can you help me?”
Schmitt-Matzen embraced the boy tightly, and before he could say anything, the child died in his arms. He remained with the boy, holding him close, until his mother entered the room, screaming in grief. He then handed the boy back to her and hastily left.
Schmitt-Matzen stated that he cried all the way home and was emotionally distressed for several days. He said he was a basket case and was so depressed that he even considered calling it quits. He had a change of heart upon seeing some children outside playing and laughing. He realized he had a role to play for both the children and himself.
This time of year, thousands of professional Santas put on their Santa outfits and get to work spreading holiday cheer. They work in shopping malls and at private events, keeping the Santa Claus fantasy alive for their young fans.
Eric Schmitt-Matzen is the president of his own company, but during the holiday season, he’s also a part-time Santa. Weighing 310 pounds with a plush white beard, he’s a dead ringer for Santa. He recently got a special request to visit a dying five-year-old boy in the hospital who was worried he would miss Christmas.
“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 looked up and said, ‘I am?’
“I said, ‘Sure!’
“I gave him the present. 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.
‘“They say I’m gonna die,’ he told me. ‘How can I tell when I get to where I’m going?’
“I said, ‘Can you do me a big favor?’
“He said, ‘Sure!’
“When you get there, you tell’em you’re Santa’s Number One elf, and I know they’ll let you in.
“He said, ‘They will?’
“I said, ‘Sure!’
“He kinda sat up and gave me a big hug and asked one more question: ‘Santa, can you help me?’
“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.
“Everyone outside the room realized what happened. His mother ran in. She was screaming, ‘No, no, not yet!’ I handed her son back and left as fast as I could.”
Schmitt-Matzen said he cried all the way home and was a basket case for days. He was so depressed he was ready to call it quits but had a change of heart after seeing some kids outside playing and laughing. He said, “It made me realize I have a role to play for them and for me.”