For young children, particularly those with communication problems or shyness, going to see Santa can be more difficult and frightening than fun. Misty Wolf of Fort Worth, Texas, who is the mother of a young boy who is blind and has autism, was worried that such would be the case for little Matthew. But she hoped it wouldn’t be, because Matthew loves Santa Claus, and she didn’t want to ruin one of his favorite things with a terrifying experience.
Matthew was born prematurely at just 24 weeks, and his twin brother did not survive. He spent 111 days in the NICU, where he developed stage 5 retinopathy of prematurity due to the fact that he had to be on oxygen for so long. After looking at his brain scans, doctors believed that Matthew would never walk or talk, but he defied the odds. Now he deals with blindness and autism every day but is a very special and amazing little boy.
Before 6-year-old Matthew got up on Santa’s lap to tell him his Christmas wishes, Misty asked to speak to Santa a moment. She whispered in Santa’s ear that her son was blind and autistic and also very interested in Santa Claus.
Santa stopped Misty, saying, “Say no more,” and he immediately got down on the floor so the boy could “see” him up close. He let Matthew feel the softness of his Santa suit and hat, the coarseness of his beard (he even got to pull on it!), and the wrinkles on his old face. When Matthew asked to feel “your eyes that twinkle” from ‘Twas the Night Before Christmas, Santa simply closed his eyes and let Matthew run his hands over them too.
Santa and Matthew talked for a long time, and then Santa got up and asked Matthew if he’d like to touch a reindeer. He took Matthew over to where a taxidermied reindeer was set up as part of the display and let him touch the large beast’s fur and antlers.
“It was great,” writes Misty. “My heart was full seeing Matthew so interested.”
Misty was so touched by this gentle Santa’s special care and attention to her son that she posted photos and a recap of the beautiful moment to Facebook. It has gotten several thousand reactions, comments, and shares from other social media users who are touched by this act of true kindness toward a child.
Thank you, Santa, for your kindness toward a young boy with some special needs! This type of charitable attitude is truly what Christmas is all about!
Elizabeth Nelson is a wordsmith, an alumna of Aquinas College in Grand Rapids, a four-leaf-clover finder, and a grammar connoisseur. She has lived in west Michigan since age four but loves to travel to new (and old) places. In her free time, she. . . wait, what’s free time?