Get out your tissues: 5-year-old died in Santa’s arms

santa, boy died in santas arm, knoxville news, ocala post, santa clause
Eric Schmitt-Matzen

*Note – Shortly after this article was published, Ocala Post contacted several hospitals in the area; however, Ocala Post could not locate anyone to confirm his story. Schmitt-Matzen has refused to provide the name of the nurse and hospital. Even though Schmitt-Matzen stands by his story, there is no actual proof that the incident occurred.*

A knoxville, Tennessee, man by the name of Eric Schmitt-Matzen, who is a professional Santa Claus, was called to a hospital to grant the last wish of a terminally ill 5-year-old boy.

“The telephone rang. It was a nurse I know who works at the hospital. She said there was a very sick 5-year-old boy who wanted to see Santa Claus,” Schmitt-Matzen told the Knoxville News Sentinel.

Schmitt-Matzen didn’t hesitate. He grabbed a gift for the child and made his way to the hospital.


Schmitt-Matzen recalled his accounts:

“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.

Schmitt-Matzen said, “I cried all the way home. I was crying so hard, I had a tough time seeing good enough to drive.”

Schmitt-Matzen told the Knoxville News Sentinel that the ordeal was so heartbreaking for him that, for a split second, he considered hanging up his Santa suit. But, he said after he thought about it he realized his role is important to children.

Read the original Knoxville story here.