Gina Wilbur was doing some holiday shopping at the Concord Mall in Wilmington, Delaware, when she decided to snap a photo of Santa Claus as he was walking by. She wanted to remind her stepson just how special the Christmas season really is, but the surprised mom had no idea she was about the capture Santa on a secret mission to do a really good deed.
Gina was both teary-eyed and delighted when she witnessed Santa giving an unsuspecting 93-year-old man a very sweet surprise. However, this gift wasn’t something that was manufactured by elves in the North Pole. Instead, it came straight from Santa’s warm and cuddly heart!
Santa was busy running his Christmas workshop at the mall when he noticed 93-year-old Bob Smiley sitting all by himself. He immediately stopped everything he was doing and rushed over to pay homage to the WWII vet. After getting down on one knee and locking eyes with the elderly gentleman, Santa lovingly told Bob exactly what he needed to hear. On her Facebook page, Gina recalled:
“I hear Santa telling the gentleman, in a soft voice, of others he knew who served. He shakes his hand with genuine gratefulness, thanking him for his service and returns to the children. Best moment of my day.”
The picture Gina posted soon went viral, and folks were moved by the precious moment she had captured. It soon went viral, and went on to become the highlight of thousand’s of people’s otherwise bah-humbug day!
In an interview with FOX 29’s Jannaphr Frederick, Santa explained that veterans like Bob deserve all the kindness in the world for their selfless service.
“We owe a debt of gratitude to men like this, that have made such a life-changing decision to give up themselves, be willing to lay down their life even, for other people.”
Bob willingly put his life on the line under General George S. Patton’s infamous WWII campaigns. But, he has a humble “Awww, shucks” sort of attitude towards all the attention he’s been receiving!
More than 16 millions men and women served our nation during WWII, and the blushing veteran pointed out that all 35 boys from his graduating class joined the military. He doesn’t feel like his choice to join the military was anything special or different.
“In my generation it was duty. We all went, we all served. Every boy in my high school graduating class all served.”
Bob may be one of the dwindling few WII vets who are still alive, but there are actually veterans everywhere you look! This holiday season, remember that gratitude is one of the best Christmas gifts we can give to anyone. Whether they’re walking around the mall with expensive shopping bags in hand, or trying to eek out an existence as a homeless person on the streets, there are so many vets out there who who love to be honored with a simple and profound, “thank you.”
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