People who dress as Santa Claus during the holidays are used to children asking for toys and gadgets for Christmas. But a young boy made a selfless request for his father's healing and the response of a Santa Claus in Garland, Texas, has now gone viral.
All Jacob Coker had on his Christmas wish list this year was for his dad to feel better, and when he and his mother visited the local shopping area he approached a dressed up St. Nick at Bass Pro Shops and told him just what he hoped for during the holidays.
Coker's dad, Jason, has a blood condition that doctors have been unable to diagnose and it has had him in and out of the hospital for the last two years. After his dad's most recent hospital stay on Dec. 10, the 12-year-old boy knew just what kind of miracle he and his family needed this Christmas and that is what he requested.
"All he asked for, all he wanted was for me to help his dad," Santa told KXAS-TV. "He said he had a lot of pain."
The Santa, overwhelmed by the boy's request, told Coker that his specialty was in toys but he would like to pray with him. The prayer was caught on camera as a woman nearby felt led to take a snapshot of the precious moment.
"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," Santa recalled.
Those in the shopping center and the employees at Bass Pro Shops said that moment reminded them of "what Christmas is all about."
To the amazement of the Coker family, the photo of the moment made its way on to Facebook and has been now been shared by thousands. The viral post eventually turned into a GoFundMe campaign that wishes to help cover the cost of the family's medical bills which will make part of the young boy's Christmas wish come true.
"I have no real words," Jason Coker told KXAS-TV of his son's actions and everyone's response. "It's just been heartwarming that so many people out there believe and care."
According to the GoFundMe page, Jason is an electrician and the sole breadwinner of his home, making his health battle the last couple of years very difficult on him and his family. The fundraiser, which is run by a family friend, Aubrey Blankenship, notes that it is not "in their nature" to accept help but she encouraged the support because the Cokers are the "the kindest, most giving people."
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"Jacob's dad is the primary support of their family. Being ill, impending medical bills, and lost wages has put a damper on things this holiday season. But, you would never hear a single person in their family complain," the description reads. "Jason, troops through and gets back to work to make sure he can take care of his family, while Emma his wife works her magic to make the most of everything. These two have a heart the size of Texas and their whole family is living proof of the way they live God's love."
Blankenship hopes the money will help Jacob's "Christmas wish come true" as well as show the loving son that "God is so good, that His love and grace is so sufficient, and that prayers are answered."
Furthermore, Jacob's mother, Emily, shared with KXAS-TV that she is just grateful for the prayers and support.
"Thank you very much for your prayers, for your thoughts, for your help and for making this a Christmas our children will never forget and that we will never forget," she said.