The Santa photo that will break your heart

Santa with baby Hayden's photo, and Kyle and Sasha Daniel with their son before his death.
Santa with baby Hayden's photo, and Kyle and Sasha Daniel with their son before his death. Photo: Supplied

Like most parents at this time of year, Kyle Daniel just wanted a photo of his child with Santa.

But Mr Daniel's son Hayden was not in line at the shopping centre waiting with other children to sit on the man in red's lap. Tragically, the baby boy was born with a congenital heart defect and passed away the week before Christmas last year.

Instead, Mr Daniel clutched a photograph of his son, who was just six months old when he died, as he waited in line alongside other families.

The Santa on hand to fulfil Mr Daniel's wish was brought to tears by the request.

"A man walked in today holding something in his arms. 'I have a request,' he said, turning around this picture frame. He took a moment. 'My son passed away, last year.' He choked up and couldn't finish his sentence," actor Caleb Sigmon wrote on his Facebook page. 

"The entire photo set was silent. I said, 'Absolutely'. Without anyone saying anything, he handed me the frame and I placed it on my knee. In the photo, I could see on the little boy's armband that his first name was Hayden.

"I didn't ask any questions, but I am guessing that this is his first photo with Santa. The camera snap was the only sound I could hear through the entire mall.

"Normally, I hear all kinds of music and sounds, but it was absolutely silent. After a handful of clicks, we walked over to the screen and he pointed, saying, 'That's the one'.

"The girl working the computer printed him a full photo package and he pulled out his wallet, saying that this was going to be his gift to his wife. We gave him the printed package, telling him that it was a gift and that we would be praying for his family, this Christmas.

"He grabbed my hand and pulled me in and hugged me, then turned around and left. As he walked out, we all had tears in their eyes. I'm sharing this to remind us all that Christmastime is unbelievably hard for some families. Pray for the brokenhearted. Smile at people. Just be kind. Love one another."

Stories From The Big Chair:A man walked in today holding something in his arms. "I have a request," he said, turning...

Posted by Caleb Ryan Sigmon on  Wednesday, 9 December 2015

Mr Sigmon regularly posts updates about his days spent as Santa and tags them "Stories from the Big Chair".

His post about the photo with baby Hayden has received 78,000 likes and been shared by more than 54,000 people.

Speaking to US Today, Mr Sigmon said he often receives heartbreaking requests from children and adults once he puts on the Santa suit.

"People ask Santa things they just don't tell other people — not just children, but grown-ups, too," he said.

"I've had more adults ask me for jobs this year than ever…I've been asked by boys and girls to bring their father home, or keep their parents together. I can't do these things, but what I can do is pray for them…my job as Santa is about sharing love. This is what it's about." 

Mr Daniel, whose wife Sasha is 19 weeks pregnant with their second child, was touched by the understanding and compassion Mr Sigmon showed for his family.

"I never thought that wanting to have a picture of our son taken with Santa would have become this. All we want is for you all to do something nice like Caleb did for us,"  he wrote on a Facebook page dedicated to his son's memory.

"Just be there for a random stranger this holiday. You don't have to do anything big, sometimes all it takes is a smile and a hello. We are coming up on Hayden being gone for a year. This year has had some highs and some very lows.

"Through everything Sasha and I have stayed strong for one another. So this Christmas as your with your family remember those who have lost loved ones, remember those who are not able to be with their families, remember those who have no family."