As the plane prepared to depart for the North Pole, Twinkle the Elf, acting as flight stewardess, shared important instructions with the excited kids buckled into their seats:
"This is a very special flight," she said. "You have to believe really, really hard, otherwise we won't be able to make it to the North Pole."
There was plenty of belief to go around on Monday evening, as Minnesota Vikings tight end Kyle Rudolph accompanied 30 University of Minnesota Masonic Children's Hospital patients and their families on "Rudy's Red Eye Express" to the North Pole, where they met Santa Claus and his entourage.
The event was made possible thanks to the generous efforts of many donors, including Kyle Rudolph and family, Vault Aviation, Best Jets International, Maven Events, Total Luxury Limos, Crave Catering, Lady Vamp Artistry, the General Store of Minnetonka, MN Nice Cream, Rock With U, BeEvents and others.
Our lucky patients and families boarded buses from the children's hospital to the airport. Once there, private jets took them directly to the North Pole—but not before receiving special instructions from Twinkle the Elf!
Once they touched down at the North Pole, our kids met Santa's reindeer...
...made North Pole-themed arts and crafts...
...and danced with the elves!
Of course, Santa made an appearance, too!