The holidays are a time for cheer, but not for everyone. A mall Santa was fired for being a grinch.
Santa Claus is supposed to be cheery, friendly and welcoming, but one mall Santa in Maine was fired after he was behaving more like rude and grumpy Scrooge. The Maine Mall fired their Santa after they received complaints from parents.
The mother of 6-year-old Chantel Mailhiot says that her daughter had a very bad experience with the now ex-Santa at the Maine Mall. She told WMGE that Santa wouldn't let little Chantel sit on his lap after she decided not to buy a $20 photo package.
Santa didn't even know what Chantel wanted for Christmas. When the little girl told him that she wanted an American Girl doll, he replied that she would get an "American football."
The mother of Chantel took to Facebook to complain about the way her daughter was treated and found that she wasn't the only one.There are several complaints on the Maine Mall's Facebook page regarding the bad Santa.
"The Santa here is extremely rude, abrupt, and has no holiday spirit whatsoever. I was very disappointed," wrote Janelle Bavota.
"We had the same experience today. He made my 11 year old son cry - basically told him he was being greedy - my son who has neurological problems and very much believes was so confused!!! I don't know what to do now. If I take him to a new Santa elsewhere my kids might notice the difference. They have always believed the mall had the real Santa," wrote Ka Judice.
Others said they were much happier with the Santa in previous years.
"You should have the Santa you have had in years past! He is a great Santa and I really enjoyed him. He's great with the kids! You can tell he really loves what he does and passes the true spirit and joy of Christmas along," said Vanadu Van.
The Maine Mall replied to many of the comments with the following message:
"We expect Santa to treat all children equally, always have. There are no codes, slanted policies, or exceptions. This is something we have been crystal clear about with Santa every year. ANY person (kids, teens, adults... even pets on Monday nights!) can sit on his lap, talk to him, get a candy cane or whatever souvenir he's handing out if he hasn't run out that day (which can happen). ALL, whether you buy pictures or not. It's an OPTION, not a requirement, to buy photography packages. Many parents' issues result when they take out their cell phone to snap a quick shot, ignoring the posted "No personal photography signs"."
The bad Santa has been fired and the Mall is looking for a replacement. They hope to have a new one by Thursday.
The Maine Mall also addressed the change in staff:
"There are other issues that we heard about that led to to immediate discussions and changes in staff or programming because despite the size of the facility, the mall is managed by a team comprised of local Maine parents so we get it! There are a few parents who have repeatedly called, emailed or messaged on Facebook the same few experiences... we can't REfix a problem from the past. But new problems and issues, we absolutely want to know about. We encourage families to call us personally when there are issues so that we can relay the stories to the staff involved, insist on changes when possible, and continue improving the percentage of families who are happy. "The canned Santa has not made any comments.