GURNEE, Ill. — An 8-year-old boy in Illinois got to fulfill a dream of meeting Santa and overcoming almost 6 years’ worth of anxiety on the same day.
Sheila Weidner Seelye shared the heartwarming story on social media of her son, Baiz Weerts, who has autism, overcoming a fear he’s had since he was 2.
Baiz has selective mutism, which is an anxiety disorder. The second-grader is reportedly fine talking at home but can have difficulty in social settings.
“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,” Seelye said. “So, we sit and watch from afar while he works through his feelings.”
Baiz and his twin sister, Layna, went to the mall in November and Layna wanted to take a photo with Santa. Baiz also wanted a photo but climbed into a shopping cart and cried when he got frustrated.
Santa then came over to Baiz and comforted him.
“He knew just how to calm Baiz down,” Seelye said. “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.”
Seelye says Santa picked the right child for the right time, and the timing couldn’t have been better.
“Baiz had huge tears running down his face” and was “happy but nervous,” Seelye said. “By the end of Santa talking to him he was crying the happiest cry I’ve ever seen from him.”
Later, Baiz told his mom: “I believe that was the real Santa mommy, I feel it in my soul.”
Seelye called the experience a “Christmas miracle.”