He didn't watch out, now he's gonna cry, now he's gonna pout, I'm telling you why: Santa Claus has gotten pink slipped. A mall management statement indicates a new, "compassionate" Kris Kringle is replacing the Grinchy one who turned away a 7-year-old autistic girl who'd waited a half hour to see him at The Shops at Mission Viejo.
"We do not condone the behavior displayed by Santa and have worked with our partners at Noerr, the company that hires our Santas, to replace this Santa with one that is more compassionate to our guests' needs," reads the Simon Property Management statement on The Shops at Mission Viejo Facebook page. "We look forward to welcoming back the Santos family and Pup-Cake for a special Santa experience."
Pup-Cake is the service dog for Abcde (pronounced "ab-suh-dee") Santos, who'd together waited in line Sunday to see Santa at the mall. When it became apparent that the fat jolly one was afraid of Pup-Cake, the pitbull was escorted out of the building.
But then the unidentified mall Santa had the hot cockles to still turn Abcde away as if she'd been naughty, not nice.
Before one could even find out if this Santa was actually Bill Bob Thornton, the mall's Simonizers had posted on its Facebook page that it shared the concerns of shocked shoppers and netizens–and was taking quick action to give the white-bearded elf the heave-ho-ho-ho.
"The Santos family and Pup-Cake the service dog would like to publicly commend Simon Property Group and the management team at The Shops at Mission Viejo mall for swiftly responding to our concerns," reads a statement from Julie Marie Miller, on behalf of the Santos family (and also posted on the Shops' Facebook page). "Along with Noerr who supplies the Santa and Elf who have handled the errant employee matters."
Now, I may have put down too much nog, but Miller's statement goes on to read like there was pre-planning to the mall encounter.
"The Santos family's goal is always equality education and their offer to provide American with disabilities act training still stands," Miller writes.
"Santa and the Elf have subsequently been fired. We are thankful that they reached out to us as soon as they learned of the incident and this was handled in a swift and appropriate manner.
"And thank you to all of those who shared holiday cheers through your videos and photos using #savePupcakesChristmas."
Miller ends by saying the Santos family will have no more comment on the matter.
At least not before St. Nick's crack global PR firm spins this incident another way, one presumes.
He sees you when you're suing …