The gorgeous late-in-life love story behind the world’s best Santa photo 4



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Over the weekend, this couple’s Santa photo has gone viral around the world, and for good reason – the cheeky kiss, the look on Santa’s face and the husband’s burst of laughter are all such fun.

But the real story behind the couple is a heartwarming tale about how life can still dish up happiness, even when you may believe you’ve used up your share.

Mary Wyatt Petersen, 91, and Bill Petersen met on a blind date in their 70s after both their spouses passed away. As Mary’s daughter explains in this TV interview, she resisted Bill’s repeated requests that they marry.

“Every year Bill would ask mother to marry him, and she would say no.”

“That was the furthest thing from my mind,” says Mary.

But then one day, Mary decided she would take a chance on love.

“And I said, “Mother, you told Bill ‘no.’ And she said, ‘I know, but I asked him,'” remembers her daughter.

“I just think I realised that I could love somebody else,” Mary says.

The couple has now been happily married for 16 years and spent their days together pursuing happiness, hence the Santa photo, for which they lined up at their local shopping mall.

When Santa asked Mary to give her a kiss on the cheek she was happy to oblige and her daughter, a professional photographer got the priceless shot of her mother, happy and full of love.

The photo became an instant social media hit, but Mark and Bill can’t really see what all the fuss is about.

“It’s so genuine,” says Mary.

“It’s just who we are,” adds Bill.

Bill and Mary Santa


Starts at 60 Writers

The Starts at 60 writers team seek out interesting topics and write them especially for you.

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