Fear of dog bites might be an occupational hazard for mail carriers, but a mall Santa?
A mall Santa and his elf turned away a seven-year-old autistic girl and her service dog, Pup-Cake, claiming they were afraid of the 5-year-old dog. Abcde Santos and Pup-Cake stood in line for 30 minutes so that she could tell Santa what she wanted for Christmas, only to be told that Santa would not see her because "those dogs eat people."
Her family offered to take Pup-Cake outside, but the Santa working at The Shops at Mission Viejo in California turned into a Scrooge and refused to see the little girl, with or without her dog.
A viral campaign, #savePupcakesChristmas, immediately sprang into action and put pressure on the Simon Property Group, which runs the mall.
The Simon Property Group released a statement that said, "We share in your concerns regarding the situation today involving a Santa 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."
A statement posted Pup-Cake's Facebook page said, "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. Along with Noerr who supplies the Santa and Elf who have handled the errant employee matters. The Santos family's goal is always equality education and their offer to provide American with disabilities act training still stands.
"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."