A shopping centre Santa has sparked outrage after he was filmed refusing to give a Nerf gun to a little boy.
Sabella DeCarlo, from Chicago, filmed the moment her four-year-old son, Michael, began crying on December 6 because Santa at Harlem Irving Plaza wouldn’t give him the toy he wanted.
“My poor baby,” she wrote on Facebook.
“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.”
In the video he’s seen speaking with Michael across the table about what toy he wants.
“What do you want for Christmas?” Santa asks him.
Michael seems unsure, but then suggests a Nerf gun.
“No, no guns,” Santa says.
Ms DeCarlo clarifies her boy wants a Nerf gun and not a real one.
“No, not even a Nerf gun,” Santa says.
“If your dad wants to get it for you that’s fine but I can’t bring it to you. What else would you like?”
Santa tells Michael he has “lots of other toys” including Lego and toy trucks.
“What do you think?” Santa says.
Michael then begins to cry and his mum walks in to cuddle him.
Santa tries to comfort him.
“It’s okay,” he says.
Ms DeCarlo later added she “had to think fast” and explain to Michael the man wasn’t actually Santa Claus, but one of his helpers.
“I just wanted to console my baby and get him out of there, flipping out on Santa would have only made it worse,” she wrote.
People furious with shopping centre Santa
On Facebook, people were furious Santa didn’t give Michael a Nerf gun.
“Holy crap, this is horrible,” one woman wrote.
Another person said: “That is not OK. I’m so sorry that happened to him, poor little guy. I am sure the real Santa will make him feel better.”
“That breaks my heart. I could cry watching this,” a third social media user said.
“Why was he even allowed to say no to that? What is wrong with the world we live in! It’s a nerf gun! Poor guy! The real Santa knows,” one Facebook user added.
The mum wrote Michael will still get a Nerf gun for Christmas from one of Santa’s elves.
Michael gets his Nerf gun
Harlem Irving Plaza wrote on Facebook the shopping centre and its third-party Santa company are “distraught and deeply apologetic about the unfortunate incident”.
“Santa is heartbroken and crushed that he has made this child so sad and upset, and turned in his resignation,” the shopping centre wrote.
“The Santa company will continue to remind all Santas how important it is to not impose personal opinions during visits with the children.”
A later video filmed by the shopping centre shows Santa visiting Michael with a Nerf gun as a gift.
“We hope we restored Christmas magic to this boy and his family with Santa’s special visit,” Harlem Irving Plaza wrote.
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