You would think every young child would LOVE to meet with Santa Claus when he visits the shops and malls in our cities and towns. Well, you would think, anyway, because of all the goodies and gifts he brings to all the good boys and girls, which, actually, is all of them… good OR bad. But some are really scared of the jolly old elf, and they run kicking and screaming from him. He’s a stranger in their world, and they are just too young to understand the incredible magic he has.
Baiz Weerts is 8 years old, and he had wanted to meet Santa for a long, long time, but he has autism, and his anxiety level was extremely high, especially when it came to being around people he didn’t know. He has a condition called selective mutism. This causes him to basically shut down in social settings. He can’t talk because he’s so overwhelmed by what’s going on, even though he does talk at home. He could never bring himself to go up to Santa when his parents took him to the mall.
Says his mom, Sheila. “Baiz asks to go to the mall almost every weekend. He’s like ’I’m gonna do it this time!’ But as soon as we get there, he freezes. So, we sit and watch from afar while he works through his feelings.”
But something happened recently, something that really made a difference. While the family was at the mall, Baiz’s twin sister, Layla, ran up to Santa. Baiz started to follow her but he just froze in his tracks. He couldn’t do it, and he was upset with himself because of it. He was in tears. When Layla had finished speaking with Santa, the old man from the North Pole did something very unusual. He got up from his chair and slowly walked over to Baiz. It looked like Santa knew exactly what was going on inside the young boy, and he wanted to make his Christmas as good as possible. Santa gently stroked his head and arm and did his best to let Baiz be comfortable around him.
Says mom Sheila: “He knew just how to calm Baiz down. He kept telling him, ‘You’re OK buddy. You’re gonna be OK.’ He knew just what Baiz needed in that moment. I’ve never seen him so happy.” And it was then that Baiz’s mom, herself, let the tears fall.