A touching photo of a 12-year-old Texas boy praying with Santa went viral—after the boy asked Santa to help his sick dad instead of asking for gifts.
Another mother saw the exchange as she was in line to see Santa with her own son at the Bass Pro Shops in Garland, Texas, on Tuesday, Dec. 19.
She told NBC 5 that the boy held a wish list but all he wanted was for his dad’s health to recover and for help with the family’s medical bills.
The woman, who wished to be unnamed, took a photo of the moment and later shared it on Facebook.
“For four years, we have always come to Bass Pro to take Jaxen’s Christmas picture with Santa. Tonight, I knew I was in the right place when the family in front of us went to see Santa,” she wrote. “I overheard him ask Santa for money for his Dad’s medical bills, and to please let his dad be healthy! The next thing we notice, Santa and the boy bow their heads.”
The photo, posted on Wednesday, Dec. 20, spread like wildfire on the internet gaining over 36 thousand reactions and over 5,000 shares as of Dec. 22.
“I have no real words. It’s just been heartwarming that so many people out there believe and care,” the boy’s father, Jason Coker, told NBC5.
The family told the network that the Jason has been in and out of the hospital for the past two years due to an undiagnosed blood disorder. His latest visit was on Dec. 10.
Emily Coker, the step-mother of the boy named Jacob, said she was touched when he told her he did not want any presents for Christmas.
“He picks up on those things that you don’t realize he picks up on until he brings you the glass of water or offers to help,” Emily told NBC5. “He’s just special.”
“All he asked for, all he wanted was for me to help his dad,” the Santa later told NBC5. “He said he had a lot of pain.”
The Santa, whose identity was not named, told the network he offered to pray with Jacob after hearing his request.
“I asked that the Lord would help him with the pain and that he would have enough joy in his heart to get through the pain,” he said.
Now compassionate strangers are offering to help Jacob’s family by recently starting a GoFundMe page. As of Dec. 22 the campaign has garnered over $4,000 out of the $10,000 goal.
“Santa did what in my opinion the very best of friends do for you – He prayed with him. Jacob’s dad is the primary support of their family. Being ill, impending medical bills and lost wages has put a damper on things this holiday season,” the GoFundMe campaign stated.
Another employee who witnessed the exchange told NBC 5, “It broke my heart, especially when I turned and saw the mom in tears,” Janet Contreras said. “It definitely tugged at my emotions.”