Father Asks Santa to Pose With Photo of Baby Son Who Passed Away Before Christmas
A photograph showing Santa cradling the image of a baby boy who passed away is touching hearts across the country.
Hayden Daniel was nearly six months old when he died from a rare heart defect in December last year - before he ever got the chance to meet Santa.
Last week, his father, Kyle Daniel, went to a mall in Georgia and handed a framed image of his son to Santa, who was being portrayed by actor Caleb Ryan Sigmon.
Sigmon wrote on Facebook: "A man walked in today holding something in his arms. 'I have a request,' he said, turning around this picture frame. He took a moment. 'My son passed away, last year.' He choked up and couldn't finish his sentence. The entire photo set was silent. I said, 'Absolutely.'"
He described placing the frame on his knee and reading an armband on the boy's arm, which read "Hayden."
"I didn't ask any questions, but I am guessing that this is his first photo with Santa," he continued. "The camera snap was the only sound I could hear through the entire mall."
Daniel explained that he wanted to buy the photos for a gift for his wife, but Sigmon said they could not allow him to pay.
"As he walked out, we all had tears in our eyes," Sigmon wrote. "I'm sharing this to remind us all that Christmastime is unbelievably hard for some families. Pray for the brokenhearted. Smile at people. Just be kind. Love one another."
The family also shared the post on a Facebook page made for Hayden. Kyle wrote that he was "forever grateful" to Santa for the photo.
Kyle wrote of Sigmon: "We are forever grateful to him for doing this for us. Thank you Caleb for making a hard situation easy for me."
He added: "All we want is for you all to do something nice like Caleb did for us. Just be there for a random stranger this holiday. You don't have to do anything big, sometimes all it takes is a smile and a hello."
According to the family's Facebook page, Hayden suffered from Hypoplastic Left Heart Syndrome, a congenital heart defect that means the left side of the heart is undeveloped, putting more pressure on the right side. He passed away on December 19 last year.