The True Story Of A Christmas Miracle By A Mall Santa
Three years ago, a little boy and his grandmother came to see Santa at a mall in Wisconsin. The child climbed up on Santa’s lap, holding a picture of a little girl. "Who is this?" asked Santa. The little boy answered, "My sister, she is sick and couldn’t come."
Santa tried to be cheerful and encouraged a smile out of the little boy. “So, what do you want Santa to bring this year?”, he asked. "Well, I want you to come see my sister,” the boy said looking up at Santa,“That would make her happy.” Santa blinked and swallowed hard and asked the boy’s grandmother to give him their address. He would see what he could do. The grandmother whispered to him that the little girl was in the hospital and wasn’t expected to live until Christmas. She understood if Santa couldn’t make it.
Santa thought of little else the rest of that afternoon. He knew what he had to do. "What if it were MY child lying in that hospital bed, dying," he thought with a sinking heart, "this is the least I can do."
When Santa finished visiting with all the boys and girls that evening, he pulled the address of the little girl out of his pocket and drove to the hospital, not knowing what he might find when he got there.
Santa found the little girl’s room and quietly peeked inside through a half-closed door. There in the bed was a little girl surrounded by a lot of people, including the grandmother he had met earlier in the day. A woman he guessed was the little girl’s mother stood by the bed, gently rubbing the little girls now bald head. Several others sat and stood nearby talking quietly. Santa could feel their love and concern for the little girl.
Taking a deep breath, and forcing a smile on his face, Santa entered the room, bellowing a hearty, "Ho, ho, ho!" "Santa!" the little girl cried out. She tried to sit up but the IV tubes kept her down.
Santa rushed to her side and gave her a warm hug. The little girl gazed at him, all excited. Her skin was pale and her head bald from the effects of chemotherapy. But all he saw when he looked at her was a pair of huge, blue eyes.
His heart melted, and he had to force himself to choke back tears. Though his eyes were riveted upon the little girl, he could crying from others in the room. As he began talking, the family crept quietly to the bedside one by one, squeezing Santa's shoulder or his hand gratefully, whispering "thank you" as they gazed at him with shining eyes.
Santa and the little girl talked for a long time. She told him all of the toys she wanted for Christmas, assuring him she'd been a very good girl that year. As he listened, Santa felt compelled to say a prayer for the little girl.
Santa looked intensely at the little girl and asked her if she believed in angels. "Oh, yes, Santa ... I do!" she said. "Well, I'm going to ask the angels to watch over you," he said.
And when he finished praying, still with eyes closed, he started singing, "Silent Night, Holy Night ... all is calm, all is bright." The family joined in, smiling at the little girl and crying tears of hope.
When the song ended, Santa sat on the side of the bed and held the little girl’s hand. "You have a job to do,” he told her. “Work hard to get well so you can have fun playing with all the toys you will get. And, I will see you next year, ok?”
He knew it was risky saying this to a little girl who had terminal cancer, but he had to. He had to give her the greatest gift he could -- not dolls or games or toys -- but the gift of HOPE.
"I will, Santa!" the little girl told him, her eyes bright. He leaned down and kissed her on the forehead and left the room.
One year later, Santa was again back at the mall for his six-week, seasonal job which he so loved to do. Several weeks went by and then one day a child came up to sit on his lap. "Hi, Santa! Remember me?!"
"Of course, I do," Santa proclaimed (as he always does), smiling down at her. After all, the secret to being a *good* Santa is to always make each child feel as if they are the only child in the world at that moment.
"You came to see me in the hospital last year!"
Santa's jaw dropped. Tears immediately sprang in his eyes, and he grabbed this little miracle and held her to his chest. He hardly recognized her. The little girl’s hair was long and her cheeks were rosy. A much different little girl than the one he had visited just a year earlier.
He looked over and saw the grandmother and little brother, along with the little girl’s mother, all wiping their eyes.
Santa silently looked up to Heaven and whispered, "Thank you, Father. 'Tis a very, merry Christmas!"