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A mall Santa Claus in Illinois has resigned after video showing him tell a young boy he couldn’t have a Nerf gun for Christmas went viral.
The video showed the boy asking a mall Santa in Norridge, Illinois, for a Nerf gun, but Santa tells him, “No guns.”
Santa asks the boy, “What do you want for Christmas?”
When the boy hesitates, the Santa presses, “You don’t know?”
— Matthew 🎄🎅🏻 🔫 (@WhiteHovse) December 7, 2020
The boy apparently asked for a Nerf (Non-Expanding Recreational Foam) gun, according to his mother.
The Santa then pronounces, “Nope. No guns.”
The mother intercedes. “Nerf gun,” she explains.
The Santa, determined, continues, “Not even a Nerf gun.”
The young boy swivels in his chair to look at his mother with imploring eyes.
The Santa repeats, “Nope. If your dad wants to get it for you that’s fine but I can’t bring it to you, so what else would you like? Lots of other toys, there’s Legos, here’s bicycles, there’s cars and trucks.” The Santa prompts, “What do you think?” Then again, as the boy nervously fidgets, “What do you think?”
The boy starts to cry as his mom, holding his younger sibling, crosses to comfort him, saying, “It’s OK.”
As the young boy squeezes his hands into fists to rub away the tears, the Santa instructs, “Don’t cry.” The mother wraps her son in her arms as the Santa continues, “It’s OK.”
“My poor baby,” Sabella DeCarlo later wrote on Facebook about her son Michael. “This was the first year Michael was excited to go see Santa. It was supposed to be magical but instead I had to watch my sweet little boy fight back tears because Santa told him no because of his own personal beliefs. I had to think fast and explain to him that this Santa was just a helper and not the real guy. I just wanted to console my baby and get him out of there, flipping out on Santa would have only made it worse.”
The mall said it and the third-party Santa company they employ were “distraught and deeply apologetic” over the incident.
“Santa is heartbroken and crushed that he has made this child so sad and upset, and turned in his resignation,” the company wrote on Facebook. “The Santa company will continue to remind all Santa’s how important it is to not impose personal opinions during visits with the children.”
The mall “immediately contacted the family and worked with our Santa company in hopes of rectifying the situation. We are happy to report that the ‘real’ Santa visited the boy at his home today to bring him a nerf gun! We hope we restored Christmas magic to this boy and his family with Santa’s special visit.”
“This is crazy! Thanks!” the boy, named Michael, says in another video posted by the mall.
— Chip Roy (@chiproytx) December 8, 2020