Michael Clyne is an autistic 10-year-old boy from Bethpage, New York. According to his mother, Jeanie Shelton, he rarely talks to people outside of his inner circle, preferring the company of his family.
As part of the family’s Christmas tradition, every year Clyne has the opportunity to meet Santa, sit on his lap, and share his wishes for what he hopes to find under the tree. Due to his aversion of talking to strangers, Clyne would never share what he wanted for Christmas to the holiday icon.
Until this year.
“As soon as Michael saw Santa, he walked up to him and started saying ‘Apple Pie Ginger Cat!’ and started to Google the image to show to Santa,” Shelton explained to CBS New York. “When he showed this to Santa, to me it was like he thinks Santa is the solution.”
Shocked by her son’s sudden speech to a stranger, Shelton explains that she became determined to fulfill his first ever Christmas wish to Santa. His aunt, Joy Story, joined in to help track down the toy.
“He made his first official request to Santa Claus, so it was like okay, this has to happen,” Story explained.
“We have to figure this out.”
Taking to the internet to track down this “apple pie ginger cat,” Shelton was disappointed to learn the wooden pull toy was no longer made and there weren’t any available for purchase. Determined to fulfill her son’s wish, Shelton and her family sent out an online request to any individuals who may have one that they are willing to part with.
Unaware of the ordeal his mother was going through to fulfill his first ever Christmas wish, Clyne checked the mail every day to see if Santa had come through with his present for him.
“Every time an Amazon box is delivered, he’s like ‘Applepie toy!’ He thinks that it’s coming,” Shelton explained to NBC New York.
In addition to sharing the request on social media, Shelton reached out to Apple Pie Toys, the London-based company that originally produced the product. The company responded that they would do what they could to see if they had an extra applepie ginger cat somewhere.
“If we could get that, it would mean so much to us.”
Long Island boy with autism breaks silence, tells Santa first Christmas wish https://t.co/KfYeQIBSM8
— Autism Speaks (@autismspeaks) November 30, 2017
Clyne and the story of his first ever Christmas wish does have a happy ending. An employee of Applepie Toys living in California happened to have the toy and was happy to send it for Clyne. Shelton was blown away by the response of the online community and everyone’s contributions, showing that some wishes can indeed come true
In the meantime, Clyne has no idea that the gift of his dreams was on its way, but he’s likely going to be very happy with what he finds under the Christmas tree this year.