Teen continues Christmas Eve tradition at Children’s Healthcare

Kim Cheek, right, gives Jerry Hatcher, Jr., a big hug after Jerry bought her breakfast Sunday at Children's Healthcare of Atlanta at Scottish Rite Hospital on Sunday, Dec. 24, 2017.
Caption
Kim Cheek, right, gives Jerry Hatcher, Jr., a big hug after Jerry bought her breakfast Sunday at Children's Healthcare of Atlanta at Scottish Rite Hospital on Sunday, Dec. 24, 2017.

Credit: STEVE SCHAEFER / SPECIAL TO THE AJC

Credit: STEVE SCHAEFER / SPECIAL TO THE AJC

Every Dec. 24, Jerry Hatcher Jr. surprises families by paying for their meals in the hospital cafeteria

Every Christmas Eve since 2013 has found Jerry Hatcher Jr. at Children’s Healthcare of Atlanta, surprising families in the cafeteria by paying for their meals.

He was back again on Tuesday.

Jerry began the tradition after his baby brother Javier's three-week hospital stay. Jerry had his eye on a PlayStation 4 that year, but came up with a better idea.

Recalling the toil the hospitalization had taken on his parents, he asked if he could use the money set aside for the gaming system to bring a little joy to other families with a child at Children’s on Christmas Eve.

“Then 7-year-old Jerry Jr. put on his nicest dress clothes and asked his parents to drive him to the hospital where his little brother spent his first Christmas,” the hospital said in a social media post. “With a wad of cash—money his parents had been saving all year to buy his Christmas gifts—tucked in his sock, Jerry Jr. hid behind cafeteria cash registers and embarked on a mission to spread cheer. One by one, he surprised parents by paying for their meals.”

ExploreTo continue the tradition, Jerry saves his allowance all year and collects donations.

“Since that morning in 2013, he’s brought tears of joy to hundreds of our patients’ families on Christmas Eve,” the Children’s post read. “And as most of us were still asleep this morning, the little-boy-turned-teenager was back at it.”

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