This story got national attention. Eric Schmitt-Matzen who was a mechanical engineer in Tennessee decided not to play the role of Santa and give up his role as St. Nick. He was deeply shaken by the deɑth of a five-year-old unnamed boy. He had done hundreds of Santa roles to bring joy to children.
Eric was 60 years old who always brought plenty of smiles on children’s faces as Santa with his bushy white beard, rosy cheeks, and twinkling eyes.
One day he received a call from his friend, a nurse who worked at a local hospital. His friend told him that the terminally ill five-year-old boy wanted to meet Santa Claus before he passed away. With little time left, Eric rushed to the hospital without his full clothes on.
After meeting with the boy’s family, he went alone to the Intensive Care Unit to meet the boy. Eric told the boy that he heard he was going to miss Christmas that year. The boy replied with great pain that they were telling him that he was dying.
Eric said, “Really, well, you’re not going to miss Christmas! The elves already have your gift. We knew you wanted this for a long time.”
Then he gave the boy a toy and said, “I brought it to him and he could barely take it apart, so I helped him,” “He saw PAW Patrol and it put a smile on his face and it was kind of a pillow.”
Eric did his best to comfort the boy and burst into tears as he remembered the moment.
Then Eric asked the boy, “Can you do me a favor?” “Of course,” said the boy. Eric said, “When you get to those pearly gates, just tell them you’re Santa’s number one elf.
“I am?” asked the boy. “Of course you are.” I’m sure they’ll let you go right away.” Eric said. “They will?” asked the boy again. “They’ll just pick you up and give you a big hug,” Eric said.
The boy silently looked at Eric and asked, “Santa, can you help me?” and then passed away. Then Eric felt the boy go limp.
“I looked out the window again and then the mother started screaming and shouting,” he said. “They ran in, I gave them my son and literally ran away.” (I was a basket case for three days after that.)
Eric decided to give up the role of Santa Claus for a while. But he decided to continue because of the joy he brought to so many children. He worked on the incident immediately after the boy’s deɑth.
Eric said: “I cried all the way home. I cried so much it was hard for me to see well enough to drive.”
“When I saw all those kids smiling, it turned me on.” It made me realize the role I had to play.” Eric said.