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Touching photo shows mall Santa go the extra mile for boy with autism

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CHARLOTTE, North Carolina — A touching photo of a mall Santa on the floor with a child has gone viral on social media. Erin Deely took her son Brayden to SouthPark mall in Charlotte, North Carolina to visit Santa during a special Caring Santa event, according to Autism Speaks.

“Caring Santa is a program that provides special needs families with their own unique opportunity to visit and take photos with Santa,” the organization noted.

When it came time for the young boy to meet Santa, his parents couldn’t convince him to sit in Santa’s lap, according to Autism Speaks Family Services team member Maeghan Pawley. Pawley, who took the photo, said the compassionate — and not so young — Santa got down on the floor and came to the boy.

“The whole staff (Santa included) was overly accommodating for all of our kids, really trying to get the best picture and create the best experience possible, regardless of how much time or patience was needed to do so,” Pawley said.

For more on Caring Santa events, click here.