More than 130 children and family members headed up north to Crystal Lake (which doubled as the North Pole) Saturday on the Polar Express.
The Polar Express Metra train trip was sponsored by the Palatine Park District, and transported participants, in addition to Old St. Nick himself, to enjoy Christmas storytelling, ginger bread cookie decorating and of course hot chocolate at the destination.
Behind all the smiles and excitement of the trip, one family was truly touched by the effort the Palatine Park District put forth to include one special Palatine girl.
Sarah Smith is bound to a wheel chair, and the Crystal Lake restaurant planned as the ending point unfortunately has a number of stairs, which would have made it too difficult for Sarah to join the others, her mother Sue Smith said.
So Carol Lange, a Palatine Park District employee who headed the event, arranged a special place for Sarah, her mother and father to enjoy all the acitivies the event offered. Lange was able to help the family to enjoy the activities at a bakery in Crystal Lake that would better accomodate the wheelchair.
"Carol worked very hard and found a way for my daughter, our family, to be involved in this wonderful event, I am eternally grateful to her for that," said Sue Smith.
Sounds like the true spirit of Christmas is very much alive in Palatine this year.