When Donnie Walters and his wife, Kelli, took their 6-month-old son, Zeke, to the Eastland Mall in Evansville, Indiana, to get his first picture with Santa Claus, things didn’t go according to plan. However, after some help from the Big Man himself, they went even better than they could have ever imagined.
Donnie told Sheknows they arrived at Santa’s station at 3 p.m…. right in time for Santa’s one-hour break. They took that opportunity to feed Zeke and give him a little nap before Santa returned so he’d be wide awake. And he was… until right before it was their turn. “He gave out the biggest yawn, crashed on my shoulder, and he was out,” Donnie said.
They were about to hop out of line and wait for him to wake up when a woman behind them suggested staying, as this Santa was notorious for taking pictures with sleeping babies. When it was their turn, they did as Santa asked and tried to keep little Zeke asleep. He woke up briefly during the transfer, but once he was snugly set on Santa, he was snoozing again. Santa hammed it up, and the resulting photos, which went viral after they posted them on Facebook, are priceless.
When they returned days later to report to Santa that his pictures had been shared millions of times, they got another perfect photo opportunity, as Zeke was out like a light once again.
The Walters have been overwhelmed by the response to the photos and are thrilled that they’re bringing smiles to people far and wide. Kelli, an avid Hallmark Movie watcher, has a theory as to why the pictures are so special: This just might be the real Santa Claus.