The photo shows 12-year-old Jacob Coker, who made his annual mall visit to Santa Claus with a specific request. According to the GoFundMe campaign story, written by family member Audrey Blankenship, Coker asked Saint Nick to help his family with his father's mounting medical bills.
Blankenship explains that Coker's father, Jason, has been in and out of the hospital and in and out of work for a while now, and it's starting to strain on the family. As Jason was the primary provider for the family, Jacob understands that Christmas gifts will be sparse this year. That didn't bother him, however — he just asked the jolly old man for his father's health and financial security.
The man dressed as Santa responded by bowing his head in prayer with Jacob. The two stood silently meditating while the picture that launched the campaign was snapped surreptitiously.
The photo went viral, though many didn't know who Jacob was or why he and Santa were praying together. Finally, it reached Blankenship, who recognized what must have happened at once. Inspired by the costumed stranger's gesture, Audrey created the GoFundMe in the name of Emily Coker, Jason's wife and Jacob's mother.
"Although, accepting help is completely out of their nature, I cannot think of a family that would be more blessed by your love," she wrote. "Thank you for helping make my little man’s Christmas wish come true."
Blankenship concluded the post with "P.S. – Santa, if you ever read this… thank you."
The campaign has raised $10,165 dollars for the Coker family with the goal reset to $15,000.