JACKSBORO TENNESSEE (WBIR) – With his ringtone and award-winning beard Matzen said, “It was back in July, won the styled mustache and natural beard.”
There’s no blending in over this lunch hour for old Santa Claus who sometimes tries to go undercover as Eric Schmitt-Matzen of Jacksboro.
Matzen said “What do you want for Christmas?” But kids always know. Matzen stated “I want a cotton candy machine.” and Santa never minds the attention. Matzen added “98 percent of it’s fun.” But those other times, can be hard.
Matzen says: “Sorry.” Like when a few weeks ago Santa was called to the hospital bedside of a terminally ill 5-year-old East Tennessee boy.
How do you even begin? Matzen said “You have to start off with the jolly voice! You know, that kind of stuff, you know. ‘What’s this I hear you’re going to be missing Christmas this year?’ ‘Yeah, they tell me I’m dying.’ ‘Really, well you’re not going to miss Christmas! The elves already had the present already made. We knew you wanted this for a long time!'”
Santa gave the boy a toy and these words. Matzen said “When you get up to those pearly gates, you just tell them you’re Santa’s number one elf.’ He’s like, ‘I am?’ I said, ‘you sure are. I’m sure they’ll let you right in.’ He goes, ‘they will?’ I said, ‘I know it.’ and he just came up and he gave me a big hug.
He had a hold of me and he just kind of looked up at me and he says, ‘Santa, can you help me?’ And that’s when he passed.” He gave the one gift he could. Matzen stated “When I got there, my job was to make sure that he got Christmas.”
And he said the smiles on kids’ faces are what keep him going, since joy goes both ways.