Mall Santa calms down autistic boy in heartwarming moment
A mother has taken to Facebook to praise a mall Santa who managed to calm down her autistic son, and left him crying tears of happiness.
Sheila Seelye, who hails from Illinois, revealed that her eight-year-old son, Baiz Weerts, had been wanting to visit Father Christmas at the mall for six years, but had always been unable to go due to an "irrational fear" and anxiety.
Baiz finally plucked up the courage this year but immediately started to feel overwhelmed. Luckily, this mall Santa knew just how to handle the situation, and left the youngster delighted.
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On Facebook Sheila explained that Baiz's twin sister, Layna, had gone up to see Santa, but that Baiz was lagging behind. "He could see Baiz sitting in the back of the cart upset [with] himself because he wants so bad to go see him but his anxiety wins [sic]," she wrote in the post. "When Layna was done, Santa came over to Baiz so slow and sweet."
"Just talking to him, Baiz had huge tears running down his face, anxious spots breaking out, frantically rolling the belt clip, happy but nervous. By the end of Santa talking to him he was crying the happiest cry I've ever seen from him. He had a smile while crying!!! He is 8 and at an age that some kids don't believe anymore but it is SO REAL to him. Such a touching moment Sarah and I witnessed! We're in bed and he says "I believe that was the real Santa mommy, I feel it in my soul, [sic]" she continued.
The second grader reportedly has an anxiety disorder known as selective mutism, which means that he's capable of speaking normally at home, or around family, but can shut down in other social situations.
Sheila ensured she referenced Gurnee Mills mall by name, so that they knew that their Santa was "amazing".