Inching his way slowly to Father Christmas’s chair, Brayden was overcome with shyness.
You see, 6-year-old Brayden was diagnosed with autism at 3 and there are certain situations that make him anxious – so as his mum tried to convince him to tell Santa what he wanted for Christmas, he refused.
But things were different this time – because rather than wait for Brayden to come and sit on his lap, Father Christmas got down on the ground with him and gave him a snow globe to play with.
The touching moment was captured in these lovely photos and shared on Facebook by charity Autism Speaks.
“[My son] very much wanted to see Santa but was very shy and doesn’t like eye contact,” Brayden’s mum Erin Deely commented on the pictures.
“We brought those Chip and Dale stuffed animals that Santa is holding for our son to focus on instead.
“Luckily Santa had that awesome snow globe so they traded and bonded on the floor. No meltdowns and no forcing on our part.”
This kind Santa knew exactly how to play with Brayden, because Erin had taken him to a special Caring Santa event at a shopping centre in North Carolina. Caring Santa provides special needs families with the chance to visit and take photos in a calm environment with an extra understanding Father Christmas.
“Oh my gosh, to be able to do something that other families do…normally a lot of things are harder for us as a family and we got to do the same tradition as everyone else, we just do it on the floor,” Erin added.
“See this to me is one of many true heroes… taking his time with children,” a well-wisher commented. “Bless this Santa and thank goodness that there are people out there that are willing to give up their comfort to help and make someone else comfortable.”
Another person commented: “That is a great Santa, I hope the boy remembers that forever.”