Mall Santa goes the extra mile for autistic child
Charlotte, NC - A family is calling a local Santa Claus their hero, after he did something to make their child feel more at ease. 6-year old Brayden Deely has autism, and usually is shy around strangers, especially Santa. This year, the Deely family took part in a special Santa event at SouthPark Mall where Santa spends significant time with children like Brayden, to not only take pictures, but to form a bond, and a sense of trust between the child and Santa Claus.
When Brayden approached Santa, he seemed unsure, and afraid. That's when Santa did the unthinkable - putting a snow globe on the ground to "break the ice," then got on the floor with Brayden, and started to play.
"I just wanted to hug Santa, because I was so happy that he got down, I knew what would make Brayden comfortable, but I didn't want to tell them that," Erin Deely, Brayden's mother said.
This simple gesture was all Brayden needed to feel safe, and secure with Santa. The photographer, meanwhile, was snapping away - capturing all of it on camera. An act that put both Brayden and his parents at ease.
"It's once in a blue moon that we will see him engaged like that," Dan Deely, Brayden's father said.
The Deelys are calling Santa their hero, and say the way Santa understood his autism and how to combat his fear was just short of a miracle.