Atlanta-- It was the trip of a lifetime for several dozen cancer patients at Children's Healthcare of Atlanta. They not only got to board a real Delta jet for a trip to the North Pole Saturday morning, they rode to the international terminal in limousines escorted by Atlanta police officers.
"She didn't know this was happening today," said Heather Speed of her daughter Riley. "She thought she was just going to go see Santa and sit in his lap at the mall."
Instead, they were flown at "light speed" up to the North Pole. The flight only took an hour, and when they got out, they were greeted by Santa Claus and falling snow. Many parents said it was a rare occasion for their kids to be overcome with laughter.
"It touches my heart," said Jamil Thomas. "When she's in the hospital, she's just sitting there taking treatments and there's not too much to smile about-but now there's something to smile about."
And coming so soon after a shooter targeted young children like these, many who were watching said it was a reason for all of us to start smiling again.
"Sometimes the good news helps push out the bad news," said Delta Captain Thomas Duda. "Providing the holiday spirit, keeping peoples' hearts happy and full, hopefully will guide us in the right direction."