5-Year-Old Terminally Ill Boy Gets His Final Wish Fulfilled — He Then Dies in Santa’s Arms
Eric Schmitt-Matzen, 60, fulfilled the last wish of a 5 year old terminally ill boy to see Santa before he died in his arms.
Eric Schmitt-Matzen, a mechanical engineer and co-owner of Packaging Seals & Engineering, also plays Santa at 80 different gigs every year. One day he had just gotten home from work when he received an urgent call from a hospital in Tennessee.
It was a call from a nurse working at the hospital saying that a boy who was minutes from death wanted to see Santa. He told the nurse that he would change into his suit and come right away but the nurse rushed him to come immediately because the boy did not have much time. So he left home grabbing just his suspenders.
When he arrived at the hospital, he met the mother of the child who gave him a gift to give to her son. It was something that the boy always wanted, a Paw Petrol toy. He took the gift and asked the boy’s family to leave the room if they were going to be emotional so that he wouldn’t burst into tears in front of the little boy.
‘You’re My Number One Elf!’
While the boy’s family waited outside the Intensive Care Unit, Schmitt-Matzen sat in front of the little boy and asked, “What’s this I hear you’re going to be missing Christmas this year?”
The boy looked up and was surprised to see Santa sitting in front of him. Schmitt-Matzen gave the little boy his gift. He remember how fragile the boy looked while unwrapping his gift. The little boy flashed a huge smile seeing his gift and laid back down.
‘They say I’m gonna die,’ he told Schmitt-Matzen. ‘How can I tell when I get to where I’m going?’
Schmitt-Matzen then asked the little boy to do him a ‘big favor’.
‘When you get there, you tell them you’re Santa’s Number One elf, and I know they’ll let you in,’ he told the boy.
The little boy was surprised at the answer but after being reassured by his Santa, he sat up to give him a big hug and died in his arms.
‘He was in my arms when I felt him pass’.
The Heartbreaking Incident Made Him Almost Want to Quit
Schmitt-Matzen kept hugging and holding the lifeless boy in his arms. The family who were watching the scene outside realized the situation and entered. He handed to boy to the mourning mother and left as soon as he could.
“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 entire experience had affected Schmitt-Matzen so much that he even considered quitting on being Santa Claus. He dragged himself to another show the next day and realized just what inspired him to be Santa in the first place. It was the joy and laughter of children that helped him bounce back.
It has been six years since he took up this role and has made four deathbed visits including an adult who wanted to knock ‘a picture with Santa’ off their bucket list. But the memory of this particular visit has stayed with him the most.
‘This one hit me a little harder because he died in my arms,’ he said.
The season of Christmas is truly magical. It gives hope for a better future and strength to face the harsh winter of life. It was heartbreaking to see a little boy die in one’s arms. But the joy that Schmitt-Matzen gave to that little boy in the last few minutes before his death will always be remembered fondly by everyone who witnessed the scene.
It just reminds us that Christmas can be anytime as long as you keep believing in miracles and be a miracle for another.