Santa Comforts Boy With Autism
The boy got his Christmas wish, all thanks to an incredible act of kindness from the big man himself.
Baiz Weerts has wanted to meet Santa for a long time. However, the 8-year-old has autism and anxiety, which has kept him from getting too close to Old Saint Nick. Every December Baiz's mother, Sheila Weidner Seelye, gives her son the chance to meet him, but it's never worked out.
"He is very excited every single year," Seelye told CBS News . "We go [to the mall] multiple times each year but we have to keep our distance. He just watches and waves."
Here's Baiz waiting in line to meet Santa...
This year, Seelye took him to the Gurnee Mills mall near their home in Illinois, and while Baiz was convinced the Santa there was the "real" one, he just couldn't muster the courage to approach him. After nearly two hours the family left, but Baiz vowed to come back and try again.
When they went to the mall for the second time, Baiz's twin sister rushed to see Santa while he stayed back at a safe distance with his aunt.
"Baiz was watching and hoping to go up by her, too. He was standing with his aunt and he started getting so anxious but frustrated with himself. So he climbed in the cart he was so upset," Seelye said. "This is when Santa noticed his struggle!"
After visiting with Baiz's sister, the Santa slowly walked over to Baiz and kept telling him in a low, soothing voice, "You're OK, buddy." When he finally got close enough to the boy, he gave him a candy cane and sticker and gently rubbed his head.
Seelye caught the sweet moment that Baiz shared with Santa on video...
Seelye, who recorded the entire episode on her phone, was overjoyed at the sight of her son finally getting to meet the guy in the big red suit. She could tell her son was still nervous, but happy for the attention.
"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!!!" Seelye shared in a Facebook post following the sweet interaction. She went on to praise the Santa for his kindness and his willingness to look beyond Baiz's insecurities.
"As a mom it meant the world to me that he saw my son and recognized his need," she told CBS. "I cannot put into words how much that means."
Seelye says that Baiz has been talking non-stop about his visit with Santa and that night, when she put him to bed, he said that he knows for sure now that he was the real Santa. When asked how he knew, the boy said, "I feel it in my soul."
Inspired by this sweet story? Why not create your own Christmas magic this season by showing kindness to everyone around you, you never know what struggles they may be going through, and a smile or a simple, "hello" might mean the world. Let's #StartSomethingGood together.