I think we found one of the worst mall Santas in history. Total hall-of-famer, here. The Kennett family brought their son and daughters to their local mall for the annual tradition of telling Santa what they want for Christmas. The kids assured Santa that they'd been good that year, and then Santa told them, "Well there are bad people in the world and bad things happen..." and then he started telling them about the shootings at Sandy Hook!
Mom put a stop to that right away, but then Santa pulled the oldest (age 10) aside and spilled the news that Santa isn't real. The poor kid ran out, crying "Santa told me he is not real, it's just you and dad," right in front of his sisters. And their sweet holiday tradition was ruined.
I'd like to pull aside this Santa and have a few words with him myself.
It sounds like the mall just grabbed some child-hating nutjob off the street for the Santa gig without doing a background check. But the man had worked for the mall for a few years, a spokesman said. This was the first complaint they'd ever gotten about him.
(This was in England, by the way. So the kids may not have even heard about the Sandy Hook tragedy -- and their parents were probably not eager to tell them.)
So what, did he just snap? He'd probably had some job with the mall doing something totally unrelated to children and maybe he just had the right belly shape for the Santa job. But it gets worse -- when the mom complained to the manager he blew her off and kept Santa on the job because he didn't want to disappoint all the other children. OH REALLY -- don't want to disappoint all those kids just waiting to have their Santa moment ruined, too, do we?!?
Eventually the bad Santa was canned. But wow, lean in close when your kids visit Santa, parents. You may want to eavesdrop to make sure he's not engaging in any un-Santa-like behavior. Yeesh.
Have you ever witnessed a mall Santa behaving inappropriately?
Image via City of Marietta, GA/Flickr