KNOXVILLE, TENN. – It’s a Christmas story from East Tennessee that has gained worldwide attention.
Eric Schmitt-Matzen spreads Christmas cheer year-round and grants wishes as Santa Claus. His long white beard and curled mustache makes him perfect for the part.
He and his wife, who joins him as Mrs. Claus, even went to Santa school six years ago.
But a month and a half ago, he answered the call to grant what would end up being one child’s final Christmas wish.
“He was more concerned about missing Christmas, than dying,” Schmitt-Matzen recalled to WBIR 10News.
He said he had just gotten home from work when a nurse at a local hospital called and said there was a very sick 5-year-old boy who wanted to see Santa Claus.
He was at the hospital in about 15 minutes and met the boy’s mother and other family members. She handed Schmitt-Matzen a toy to give to her child.
“When I got there, it was my job to make sure he got Christmas,” Schmitt-Matzen said.
With this tough task ahead of him, he asked everyone else to leave the room so that he wouldn’t break down in tears.