Eight-year-old Baiz Weerts of Illinois has always wanted to meet Santa Claus. Unfortunately, because of his autism and extreme anxiety, the young boy has become too overwhelmed to meet Santa for the past six years when the Christmas season rolls around each year.
Speaking to CBS News, his mother, Sheila Weidner Seelye, explained that her son has spent the last six years watching Santa Claus from a distance because he was emotionally unable to get close to the man in the big red suit.
“He is very excited every single year. We go [to the mall] multiple times each year but we have to keep our distance. He just watches and waves.”
Seelye added that she has watched her son do everything in his power to summon enough nerve and courage to approach Santa Claus. She claimed he would spend an hour — and sometimes even longer — trying to get close enough. He, however, always ended up losing to his autism and extreme anxiety.
This year, Baiz was at the Gurnee Mills Mall for two hours trying to summon the courage to meet the man in the big red suit. Unfortunately, he was still overwhelmed and nervous.
According to his mother, the young boy decided the Santa at this mall was the real deal. So, they came back a second time. For the second visit, his twin sister, Layna, went to sit with Santa. He, however, decided to stay back and watch from a distance.
“Baiz was watching and hoping to go up by her, too. He was standing with his aunt and he started getting so anxious but frustrated with himself. So he climbed in the cart he was so upset. This is when Santa noticed his struggle!” His mother continued to explain.
After noticing the young boy, the mall Santa slowly approached Baiz.
“You’re okay, buddy,” Santa repeatedly told him.
While her son remained in the cart, Santa rubbed the boy’s head and presented him with a candy cane and sticker. He continued to reassure the boy that he was fine.
Fortunately, his mother was able to snap several photos and capture the magical moment her son shared with the very kind mall Santa Claus on video.
According to his mother, Baiz was shedding happy tears of joy by the end of his encounter with Santa.
Unsurprisingly, his mother’s Facebook post containing the photos and a video clip from the experience has had a lot of social media users taking to the comments to shed a few tears of their own.