Bob D’Angelo, Cox Media Group National Content Desk
A Santa Claus in a store gets plenty of requests and wish lists from children. A request from a Texas boy, however, asking for good health for his ailing father, produced a heartwarming scene as St. Nick offered to pray with the child.
The photo of 12-year-old Jacob Coker and Santa, taken at Bass Pro Shops on Tuesday in Garland, has gone viral after a parent waiting in line with her son snapped a picture and posted it to Facebook, KXAS reported.
The woman was standing in line when she witnessed the exchange. Jacob had a wish list, but told Santa all he wanted was good health for his dad and help with the family's medical bills.
The woman, who asked KXAS not to use her full name, said she was touched and took a photograph, posting it on Facebook and asking anyone who saw it to help find the family.
“I have no real words. It's just been heartwarming that so many people out there believe and care,” said Jason Coker, the boy's father.
Emily Coker, Jacob's stepmother, said she was touched when Jacob told her he didn't want any toys or gadgets 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 Coker said. “He's just special.”
Jason Coker, an electrician, has made several trips to the hospital for the past two years, most recently on Dec. 10, to treat a blood disorder, KXAS reported.
“All he asked for, all he wanted was for me to help his dad,” the store Santa said. “He said (his father) had a lot of pain.”
The Santa told KXAS that he explained his expertise was in toys, but he offered to pray with Jacob.
“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 told KXAS.
Janet Contreras, a Bass Pro Shops employee, also saw the exchange.
“It broke my heart, especially when I turned and saw the mom in tears,” Contreras told KXAS. “It definitely tugged at my emotions.”
“It brought it closer to home for me, because that's what Christmas is all about,” store manager Kathy Thompson told KXAS. “Those special moments and innocent moments of a child, sharing a moment with Santa just kind of brings us back to what Christmas is all about.”