Social justice appears to have reached the North Pole as one boy so painfully discovered when his visit with Santa met an unexpected hiccup. Not only are children physically separated from Santa now, but it appears that their gifts will also be given passed out as Santa sees fit.
Such was the experience of one family whose son dissolved into tears after a mall Santa flatly refused his request for a toy gun. According to her Facebook post, Sabella DeCarlo and her son Michael were in Norridge, Illinois at the Harlem Irving Plaza when her son asked for a Nerf gun for Christmas.
The video posted fo Facebook shows the boy sitting at a table across from Santa when the man in the red suit asked “What do you want for Christmas?
When the boy was hesitant, indicating that he didn’t really know, but when further encouraged, the boy asked for a Nerf (Non-Expanding Recreational Foam) gun, according to his mother.
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That was met with a quick denial from Santa who said, “Nope. No guns.” When the mother attempted to explain that he wanted a “Nerf gun,” Santa doubled down saying, “Not even a Nerf gun.”
The young boy, seeming confused, swivels in his chair to see his mother, and as she seemed to attempt to find a way to salvage the incident, Santa again reiterated that no Nerf guns would be distributed by the North Pole, but if he got them from somewhere else, it would probably be fine, and he attempted to direct the upset boy to something else.
“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, there’s bicycles, there’s cars and trucks.” The Santa prompts, “What do you think?” Then again, as the boy nervously twists the facemask in his hand, “What do you think?”
By the time the interaction was coming to a close, the boy was crying on his mother’s coat, seeming confused and scared. His mother, who was juggling a younger sibling, assured him that he would still get what he was asking for.
“Don’t cry,” the mother said as she wraps her son in her arms as the Santa continues, “It’s okay. You still get it,” the mom said as her son continued to cry.
The boy’s mother wrote about the incident on Facebook when she posted the video:
“My poor baby. 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. His Elfie is going to bring him a Nerf gun directly from the North Pole, from the real Santa, tonight.
The post was edited later to add:
“Harlem Irving Plaza has responded quickly and with kindness and understanding. They have a special surprise for Michael that we will share later. Also, many people have offered to send Michael a nerf gun. His wish list has more than been fulfilled so if you’re still feeling generous please contact his mother, Sabella DeCarlo, as they are organizing a large nerf and toy donation to children in need! We’re trying to turn this unfortunate incident into something positive and spread cheer to children who really need it!
“The HIP is not where you want to take your children to see Santa if they are asking for Nerf guns.”
DeCarlo uploaded her video around 4:30 in the afternoon on Dec. 6, and the video quickly picked up steam. It was just about 24 hours later when Harlem Irving Plaza uploaded their own video, showing another (seemingly less political) Santa, delivering an impressive looking Nerf gun to Michael at his home.
“The HIP and our third-party Santa company are distraught and deeply apologetic about the unfortunate incident which occurred at Santa set on December 6, as both parties strive for families and their children to have a happy holiday experience,” HIP said in their Facebook post.
“Santa is heartbroken and crushed that he has made this child so sad and upset, and turned in his resignation. The Santa company will continue to remind all Santa’s how important it is to not impose personal opinions during visits with the children.
“HIP 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.
“The HIP is thankful for our valued customers. We invite you to please watch and share this new video in hopes of restoring Holiday magic to everyone!
“Happy Holidays, Harlem Irving Plaza.”
Is it a Christmas miracle? Maybe not, but Michael ended up with a wicked awesome Nerf gun for Christmas that his parents didn’t have to buy. And isn’t that the most you can hope for from a trip to the mall?