Before the holiday break starts for many around the country, Barack Obama made sure a group of youth patients at the Children’s National hospital in Northwest Washington, D.C., were not forgotten this Christmas.
On Wednesday, the former president sported a red Christmas hat and slung a sack of presents over his shoulder while he walked the halls of the hospital. Usually when he entered the patients’ rooms, gasps, tears and contagious smiles would immediately follow.
The first stop Obama made in the hospital was to a group of patients, ages four and up, who were crafting snowflakes. Santa Obama was met by delighted patients, who then received toys.
Jigsaw puzzles, Hot Wheels sets, electronic cars and nail polish were just a few of the surprises given to the children.
“I know they will be talking about it for years to come,” said Kurt Newman, chief executive and president of Children’s National Health System. “At such a busy time of year, when no one wants to be in the hospital, his natural warmth lifted the spirits of those kids, their parents and of each staff member he met along the way.”
Before making his departure, Obama took a moment to deliver a message of gratitude to the nurses, doctors and support staff who have worked to make sure these children feel loved.
“At a time that obviously is tough for folks, and as the dad of two girls, I can only imagine, in that situation, to have nurses, staff and doctors and people who are caring for them, and looking after them, and listening to them and just there for them and holding their hands,” he said to the workers.
Later on, Obama tweeted: "Merry Christmas and happy holidays to the extraordinary kids, families, and staff at Children’s National. And thanks for humoring me as your stand-in Santa."
(Photos: Children’s National Hospital)