ANCHORAGE (KTUU) - She wasn't dressed in red, or accompanied by Santa, but one Eagle River mother thinks Mrs. Claus is out there.
Lilly Provenzano lost her husband about a year and a half ago, and says the family has been trying to figure out their "new normal." She says some days are more difficult than others, with Christmas being especially tough.
"I thought this being the second Christmas, it would be easier, and it's not. I don't think it's ever going to be," Provenzano told KTUU.
It was at the Eagle River Tree Lighting that one of her twin sons was struck with grief that prompted this random act.
Provenzano said, "Everything was fine and Santa arrived, and my younger twin immediately started crying and said, 'That's not the real Santa.'"
"I started crying," Provenzano said. "A very kind mom standing next to me was able to get down to his level and explain to him how busy Santa was and how few days he had left."
Provenzano felt inspired by the act, saying it changed the tone of the whole weekend. She says it made her realize small acts of kindness have big ripple effects, and it prompted her to write a letter to the editor of the Chugiak-Eagle River Star.
If Provenzano's "Mrs. Claus" happens to see this, she wants her to know: "You have no idea how you made me feel. How happy, how relieved that you were able to step in and do my job when I couldn't."
"I just want to thank you for your kindness," Provenzano said.