WASHINGTON (FOX 5 DC) - With a huge bag full of gifts, former President Barack Obama spread holiday cheer and surprised patients and families at Children's National Medical Center in Washington D.C. less than a week before Christmas.
Obama's visit lasted about 30 minutes as he handed out toys that included matchbox cars, puzzles and even Starburst-scented nail polish.
Donning a Santa hat, he stopped by a playroom where he spoke with and gave gifts to each child working on their art projects before heading to rooms to greet other kids. According to the hospital, one of those patients, 12-year old Kat Levin, started shaking and screaming when she saw the former president.
For the children he couldn't meet in person, Obama recorded a video for them wishing them a happy holiday.
"What an amazing afternoon!" said Children's National Health System CEO and President Dr. Kurt Newman. "Mr. Obama's surprise visit - complete with a Santa hat and toys - was incredibly special for our patients and their families. I know they will be talking about it for years to come."
Obama's office issued a statement regarding his visit:
"This afternoon, President Obama had the pleasure of visiting with children and families at Children's National hospital in northwest DC.
"During today's visit, President Obama greeted individual patients in their rooms and stopped by several playrooms, bringing Christmas gifts that he and his staff had collected. He had the chance to spend some time with parents and siblings of kids who are spending the holidays in the hospital, and he also recorded a short message for the hospital's internal TV system, wishing all the patients he couldn't visit today a wonderful holiday season.
"Since January 2017, President and Mrs. Obama have made similar visits in the D.C. area, including Mrs. Obama's trips to Ballou STAY High School and Cardozo Education Campus, and President Obama's visits to McKinley Tech High School, the Langston Terrace community, the Jelleff Boys & Girls Club and Dog Tag Bakery.
"President Obama last visited Children's National in 2014. Mrs. Obama visited annually from 2009-2016 while she was First Lady."