A man in a Santa Claus costume has been pictured sharing a wonderful moment with an elderly military veteran at a Maryland Mall. Gina Wilbur was heading through the Concord Mall in Delaware when she spotted the Santa Claus and decided to shoot a quick picture. Then, something extraordinary happened.
As Gina grabbed her phone to take a snap, she noticed Santa stopping in his tracks and going over to greet an elderly man.
“Just as I was ready to take the picture, Santa stopped short to shake the hand of a gentleman, a WWII Veteran, sitting on a wall next to me,” Wilbur told PEOPLE. “As Santa reached for his hand, the gentleman began to stand and then Santa knelt down on one knee to show his appreciation.”
After noticing the military man’s “World War II” hat, Santa simply wanted to show his appreciation, sharing stories of many friends who had served bravely in the military.
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“He spoke in a soft voice, thanking him for his service and spoke of others he knew who had served,” Wilbur explained. “Then he stood up and went back to his chair to greet the children.”
The photo has since been shared on Facebook almost 6,000 times, with hundreds offering their words of thanks and appreciation for this heart-warming festive moment.
“Santa’s recognition of this WWII vet means a great deal to me personally,” one person noted. “My father was KIA in Germany in March of 1945. This honor is understood and appreciated by me and other WWII Gold Star children.”
“This melts my Heart!” another added. “Thank you to all veterans and current servicemen and women serving to protect our country. May we remember and pray for all of you through the holiday! I know it has to be so difficult to be away from your family and other loved ones this time of year, another sacrifice you make to serve and protect. God Bless You!”
Send up some prayers for those who are sacrificing precious time with their family by choosing to serve their country during the holiday season.