Courtesy of Gina Wilbur

PHOTO: Santa takes a knee for 93-year-old WWII veteran

December 10, 2018

By Elizabeth Howe /

Santa Claus himself wanted to give Bob Smiley, a 93-year-old WWII veteran, a little gift of his own earlier this month. Smiley was resting on a bench in the Concord Mall in Wilmington, Del. when Santa approached him. Gina Wilbur, sitting on a nearby bench, snapped a photo that has now gone viral.

Smiley stood as Santa approached, Wilbur wrote in her post, but Santa took a knee. 

"I hear Santa telling the gentleman, in a soft voice, of others he knew who served," Wilbur wrote. "He shakes his hand with genuine gratefulness thanking him for his service and returns to the children. Best moment of my day."

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The photo now has over 13,000 likes and Santa and Smiley recently appeared on Good Day Philadelphia together.

"I didn't realize it was going to be that deep of a moment and the effect of the picture," Wilbur told Daily Mail. "But it has gone so much further than just the picture. There's so much depth."

"We owe a debt of gratitude to men like this that have made such a life-changing decision to give up themselves, be willing to lay down their life even, for other people," Santa explained on Good Day Philadelphia of his decision to approach Smiley.

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