A man’s courageous and touching decision to grant a terminally ill little boy his final Christmas has gone viral, with the details of the tragic story touching the hearts of people across the globe.

And as Eric Schmitt-Matzen’s story of dressing up like Santa and comforting child was rapidly spreading on Monday, he sat down with WBIR-TV to further describe what unfolded, getting emotional as he explained his brief encounter with the 5-year-old boy who unexpectedly died in his arms.

Among his comments, Schmitt-Matzen shared what he wished could have gone differently in the hospital room that day, saying he would have preferred to trade places with the child — or would have liked to see the boy die “in his mom’s arms” and not his own, though he acknowledged that “you can’t control” such things.

Schmitt-Matzen, who regularly dresses up as Santa, recounted what happened after he was called to the hospital a month and a half ago to give the boy a final meeting with Mr. Claus, saying he was a “basket case” for three days after the encounter — an event that left him deeply impacted.

“He told me, ‘I’m dying,’” Schmitt-Matzen said of his hospital exchange with the child.

Schmitt-Matzen recalled giving the child a Christmas gift and seeing him struggle to unwrap it; he helped him do so, noting that the gift brought the boy great joy.

The child then mentioned that he would be dying and would miss Christmas — something Schmitt-Matzen said the young boy didn’t quite seem to fully comprehend, as he “was more concerned about missing Christmas, than dying.”

“He just looked like he had that look on his face like he wasn’t really grasping it, you know,” Schmitt-Matzen said, noting that he then asked the boy if he could do Santa a favor.

“When you get up to those pearly gates, you just tell them you’re Santa’s number one elf,” he said. “He gave me a big hug. He just kind of looked up at me and said, ‘Santa Can you help me?’ and that’s when he passed.”

As Faithwire previously reported, the story has touched the hearts of millions of people. It’s obviously incredibly tragic that such a small child lost his life, yet Schmitt-Matzen’s kind and selfless act offers hope and deeply touches the human soul.

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