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Heartwarming photos of a mall Santa going the extra mile to bond with a young autistic boy are quickly going viral.

Erin Deely explained that her six-year-old son, Brayden, who was diagnosed with autism at age three, was feeling shy when it was his turn to meet St. Nick at an Autism Speaks Caring Santa event in Charlotte, North Carolina.

Rather than wait to see if Brayden might come to his lap, the caring Santa got right on the ground with the boy and started playing with Brayden and his toys!

"Oh my gosh, to be able to do something that other families do ... normally a lot of things are harder for us as a family, and we got to do the same tradition as everyone else. We just do it on the floor," Erin said.

The Caring Santa event the Deely family attended was put on by Autism Speaks along with Simon Property Group, Inc., the Noerr Programs Corporation and AbilityPath.

According to Autism Speaks, "Caring Santa is an opportunity to connect with multitudes of families that have children with autism and other special needs, providing a more controlled and welcoming environment. Families can sign up for their own appointments, so that their child can have a calm, stress-free Santa experience."

Check out more photos of the magical moment below and learn more about the Caring Santa program and Autism Speaks.


(Courtesy of Autism Speaks and Maeghan Pawley)


(Courtesy of Autism Speaks and Maeghan Pawley)


(Courtesy of Autism Speaks and Maeghan Pawley)


(Courtesy of Autism Speaks and Maeghan Pawley)


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