A mall in Chicago has apologized and delivered a surprise to a young boy who was told by a mall Santa Claus that he could not have a toy gun for Christmas.
Video posted by the boy's mother on Facebook shows Michael asking a Santa at the Harlem Irving Plaza Mall for a nerf gun.
"No, I ... nope. No guns," the Santa replied. "Not even a Nerf gun. If your dad wants to bring it to you that's fine, but I can't bring it to you. What else would you like?"
The boy eventually breaks into tears.
"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," the boy's mother wrote in her Facebook post.
"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," she added.
Video of the incident spread quickly on social media, with pro-gun activists and conservatives decrying what they said was a political display.
Get outta here with this wannabe "Christmas Story" Santa. What a doucher. https://t.co/69N8r9JJkx
— Dana Loesch (@DLoesch) December 7, 2020
On Monday, Harlem Irving Plaza Mall published an apology and posted a video to its own social media feeds showing a different Santa Claus delivering a massive nerf gun to the boy's front door.
"How are you," the Santa asked Michael. "So there was a mistake made yesterday. We're so sorry about that."
The Santa said he "heard about [the incident] up at the North Pole and rushed down" to make sure the boy got the toy gun.
"This is crazy," the boy exclaimed.
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,...https://t.co/sv8TOMdN7k
— Harlem Irving Plaza (@shoptheHIP) December 7, 2020
In an update to her Facebook post, the boy's family said they were thankful the mall "responded quickly and with kindness and understanding."
[via The Hill]