BETHPAGE, N.Y. (CBSNewYork) — Do you believe in Santa? One Long Island family certainly does after seeing their autistic son’s dreams came true.
10-year-old Michael Clyne rarely speaks to strangers, but when he recently sat in Santa Claus’s lap at a holiday event, his mom says it was very clear what her autistic child wanted.
“As soon as Michael saw Santa, he said ‘apple pie ginger cat,’ and he started Googling the image to show Santa,” Michael’s mother, Jeanie Shelton-Clyne said.
Young Michael’s love of the ginger cat began the moment he saw it in an online video. He’s been repeating the wooden pull toy’s name ever since.
Amazed he would even speak to Santa, the family immediately began searching for the toy in hopes of putting one in the youngster’s Christmas stocking. They were quickly disappointed to learn it was no longer being sold.
Its London-based manufacturer stopped making the toy ten years ago. An online search and a Facebook appeal that immediately went viral also turned up empty.
Michael’s family wasn’t about to give up.
“He made his first official request to Santa Claus, so it was like okay, this has to happen,” Michael’s aunt, Joan Story, said. “We have to figure this out.”
Friends suggested hiring an artist to create their own version of the ginger cat, but the family preferred to let Santa do his job.
“When he showed this to Santa, to me it was like he thinks Santa is the solution,” his mom said.
It turns out, a toy company employee in California had just one ginger cat he’d be happy to give Michael.
“I believe you can never stop believing in Santa,” Michael’s mother said.
They now just have to keep it secret until Christmas Day, although she doubts he’ll be surprised since Michael never doubted Santa would come through.