Tragic Death on Santa’s Lap

Tragic Death on Santa’s Lap
Tragic Death on Santa’s Lap

Heartbreaking Christmas Tragedy

Fulfilling the dying wishes of a terminally ill little boy, Santa Claus rushed to the child’s bedside and filled his final few moments of life with all the hope and magic of Christmas that he had dreamed he would live to see.

60-year-old Eric Schmitt-Matzen from Tennessee is a company president and mechanical engineer when it’s not Christmas. But during the festive season he professionally takes advantage of his classic Santa appearance to bring to life the dreams and fantasies of hundreds of children.

In November 2016, a nurse telephoned Schmitt-Matzen urgently one evening after work, and requested that he hurry to the local hospital to fulfill the wish of a dying young boy who was fretting that he would miss Christmas.


He reported sorrowfully that when he arrived, he knew it was his responsibility to make certain that the boy still had a Christmas.

Afraid he would burst into tears, he requested that the family wait outside of the room when he went in, so he could pull off his Santa act perfectly for the child. The boy’s mother gave Santa a wrapped gift to pass to him to open, which contained a special toy that he had coveted in the months leading up to Christmas.

Taking the child into his arms, the boy glumly expressed with deep anxiety that he had overheard he was going to die and was now fearful that he would miss Christmas.

Santa reassured the boy that he was not going to miss Christmas, and that the elves had already carefully prepared his gift as they had noted his special request a very long time ago.

The boy’s fears dissipated into joy and smiles when Santa presented him with the gift. Hugging the child, he reassured him that when he arrived at heavens gates, he should inform them that he is Santa’s number one elf. Then they would swing open the gates and welcome him into heaven.


The boy hugged Santa more tightly and asked one final question: If Santa could help him.

Schmitt-Matzen finds this moment the most taxing to recollect, as in that very instant, the boy took his final breath, and died, right there in his arms. He beckoned to the family, who had been watching through a window, and the child’s distraught mother ran into the room screaming.


Tragic Death on Santa’s Lap
Tragic Death on Santa’s Lap


This proved all too overwhelming for Mr Schmitt-Matzen, and he swiftly passed the child back into his mother’s devastated arms and took off out of the hospital: this big burly jolly red figure with his full white beard, drenched in tears, weeping inconsolably.


He claims that it took him such a long time to recover from the grief that he almost decided to hang up his Santa suit forever.

Somehow he found the strength to overcome his despair and he decided to perform for children once more. He said that when he witnessed the children laughing, he regained his resolve and perspective. It made him appreciate his festive calling and the crucial role he needs to play – spreading hope and magic for all children, and for himself.