Baiz Weerts tried to meet Santa over the last six years, but his “irrational fears” kept him from getting close.

“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,” his mother, Sheila Seelye, told TODAY Parents. “So, we sit and watch from afar while he works through his feelings.”

The Illinois second-grader has autism as well as an anxiety disorder called selective mutism, which means he speaks normally at home, but often shuts down in social situations.

But a recent visit to the Gurnee Mills Shopping Center ended much differently for Baiz.

Baiz’s twin sister Layna wanted to take a photo with Santa and ran right up. “Baiz was emotional because he wanted to follow her but he couldn’t do it,” Sheila said.

As Baiz’s frustration began to build, he climbed into a shopping cart and cried. Santa himself noticed and made his way over to the little boy after meeting with Layna.

Baiz’s mother watched, amazed as Santa did and said all the right things. He touched Baiz’s hair, reassured him that everything was fine, and gave him a candy cane.

“He knew just how to calm Baiz down,” Sheila 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.”

The day started out rough for Baiz, but later on, he told his mother, “I believe that was the real Santa mommy, I feel it in my soul.” Baiz certainly has a heart as kind as the big man.


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