Gracie Wilson, 3, of Henderson, Ky., was having breakfast with her parents at the same restaurant as Santa Claus. But the older white-haired, white-bearded, well-bellied man with round gold-rimmed glasses and red suspenders was eating alone. So she joined him.
After a hug and a "Hi, Santa," "She pulled up a chair and they just started having a conversation like they knew each other for years," Gracie's mother, Lindsey Wilson, told NBC News.
The toddler was worried Santa had no one to talk with. Gracie's mom told TODAY. She and her husband didn't want Gracie to bother the man in the red pants at the Bob Evans restaurant chain.
"As soon as we walked in, Gracie was saying, 'Look Mommy, he's here,' and "Daddy, look, it's Santa!' He obviously heard her because 3-year-olds aren't quiet by any stretch of the imagination. We didn’t know if he wanted to eat and be left alone, but he said that if she wanted to come talk to him, it didn't bother him at all. He was open-arms welcoming to her," Wilson said.
Local NBC News affiliate WFIE traced Santa – to the Eastland Mall in Evansville, Ind.
"I thought that was pretty special she understands, I think, about having friends, and she was quite a special young lady," he said. "I am gonna have a few surprises for her this year."
So what does Gracie want for Christmas?
"Baby James," she told Santa when he asked her at the end of their breakfast. Wilson is expecting Gracie's baby brother in early December.
"It was really neat to hear that a 3-year-old didn't want toys and more stuff – that all she wanted was her baby brother," Wilson said.
Per Gracie's request, the family decorated for Christmas "a few weeks early."