A lot of viral Santa photos have floated across our screens in recent weeks, but the story behind this latest one will stop you in your tracks. A Georgia mall Santa is receiving widespread praise after he posed with a baby’s photo to help a pair of grieving parents.
Caleb Ryan Sigmon is an actor and professional Santa Claus who chronicles his experiences on social media under the heading “Stories From The Big Chair.” A few days ago, he shared that a man came to see him with nothing other than a photo of a baby boy. The man started to explain that his son passed away, but choked up and couldn’t get the rest of his story out. Sigmon immediately understood and agreed to pose for a Santa picture with the child’s photo.
Sigmon says he noticed from the little boy’s hospital bracelet that his name was Hayden, and he didn’t want to ask any invasive questions, but he assumes this was the boy’s first photo with Santa. He adds that while they took the pictures, the entire mall around him was silent. “Normally, I hear all kinds of music and sounds,” he says. “The camera snap was the only sound I could hear.”
Once the pictures were finished, the dad picked one out and the woman behind the counter printed him a full photo package. The father explained that the photos were going to be a gift for his wife and reached for his wallet to pay, but Sigmon writes that they all stopped him and gave him the photos for free. “We gave him the printed package, telling him that it was a gift and that we would be praying for his family this Christmas,” writes Sigmon. “He grabbed my hand and pulled me in and hugged me, then turned around and left.”
Since Sigmon posted the story, it’s been shared more than 50,000 times. It even caught the attention of the baby’s father, who posted on his own Facebook page that he’s overwhelmed by the outpouring of love and support, and just wants everyone to honor his son’s life by paying it forward and doing something nice for someone else.
The holiday season is a happy time, but it can also be incredibly painful to people for reasons you’d never know just by looking at them. This story is extraordinary, not just because of the photos or the act of giving them to the father for free, but because it captures the kind of generosity and kindness we should show to others all year long.
Everyone has a story that will break your heart, but we also have the ability to carry each other through the most trying times. Thanks to this Santa for sharing his story and reminding us all what love and compassion look like.