Ho Ho Grrrrr, Readers: If I had a sleigh, I’d be on my way out to the Macy’s in San Fran which just sacked its beloved Santa, despite the fact he’d been doing the gig for 20 years. Some folks even made special trips just to visit the man known as “Santa John.” But then he did something unforgivable! According to this report in sfgate.com, he was booted after an adult couple complained about a joke he’d cracked:
The joke has been in his Santa bag for decades. But after thousands of tellings, the 68-year-old retired caretaker for the elderly finally hit the wrong recipients – apparently an older woman and her husband, who considered it inappropriate.
Toomey – who stays in Oroville most summers and winters in San Francisco while he does the kiddie-on-the-knee gig – said he’d never had complaints before about the joke, which he saves for the occasional grown-up who visits him.
“When I ask the older people who sit on my lap if they’ve been good and they say, ‘Yes,’ I say, ‘Gee, that’s too bad,’ ” Toomey said Monday.
“Then, if they ask why Santa is so jolly, I joke that it’s because I know where all the naughty boys and girls live.”
The kids who sit on his lap, he said, get only his trademark laugh and questions about what toys they want.
Macy’s spokeswoman Betsy Nelson said the store cannot comment because the matter involves personnel.
But several workers used words including “devastated” and “overreaction” to describe their take on Santa John being booted from his throne at Santaland on the seventh floor. They all asked not be named because store policy forbids them from speaking publicly about such matters, but their un-yule-ish gloom was palpable.
“People make a pilgrimage to see him every year, some for as long as 15 years,” said one worker. “Everyone loves him. Everybody’s just heartsick about this.”
I can’t wait to see the movie about this story: “Miracle on Stupid, Paranoid, Everyone’s-a-Predator Street.” In these touchy times, I guess you can dandle thousands of delighted kids on your knee, but make one piffling joke that some uptight adult finds “inappropriate” and that’s enough to scare the (Santa) suits. Out into the cold you go, Mr. Kringle, and here’s a lump of coal for those two decades.
Personally, I love Macy’s here in New York City. I love its parade, its building, its wild hum of humanity. But this firing out in San Fran brings to mind the “Miracle on 34th Street” exec who booked Santa into Bellevue.
Faith is believing when common sense tells you not to, so please repeat after me: “I believe that at some point America WILL regain its sanity. It’s silly, but I believe. It’s silly, but I believe…” — L