I have a mentally disabled son who for some unknown reason just had to go see Santa Claus one year. The day came when I could no longer put this man-child of 19 off; he just had to see Santa Claus.

At that time I did not have good clothes to wear, and my size was also something that would get embarrassing looks. When we got there it was obvious that because of his size, and his age, my son would not be permitted to go up the ramp, much less sit in Santa’s lap.

We stood back and watched other children go up to Santa. All of a sudden, this man-child started waving and yelling, “Hi, Santa,” with a great big smile.

The man in the red suit stood up immediately with children still waiting to sit on his lap. He hurried down the ramp to where this odd-looking couple (my son and I) were standing. He reached way out to shake my son’s hand. My son stretched very hard to reach Santa and he did manage to touch the tip of his glove and shake hands.

This man in the red suit grabbed my son’s hand and said, “Santa loves you.” My son’s face lit up and his smile was radiant when he heard what this special and compassionate man had said.

Santa reached in this pocket and gave my son a small plastic ring as a gift. My son put the ring in his pocket and reached out for another. I don’t know what the man in the red suit thought, but he did not hesitate to give him another ring.

I asked my son “What are you doing?” He replied, “This one’s for Donnie.” You see, he was reaching the second time for his twin brother, who is just a little more mentally disabled than he.

Yes, my friend, there is a Santa Claus and my son Davy is convinced of it.

By Richard G. Halcombe, Sr.

* Stories From the Heart is an ongoing series of user contributed heart warming stories, that shine light on the Autism and special needs experience.