The Short of It
Santa posed for a photo while standing with a 13-month-old who suffers from a genetic brain and muscle disorder after he refused to let the little boy sit in his lap like the other children.
There have been so many recent reports about amazing mall Santas who have gone out of their way to connect with children and their families this holiday season.
First, we had the Santa who got on the floor to bond with a little boy with autism. Then, we had the one who assured another young tot that his autism did not put him on the Naughty List. And finally, there was this jolly good fellow who spread the magic of the season by taking a picture with a photo of a grieving father's son.
Sadly, for Megan Self and her 13-month-old son Caleb, not all Santas are built of the same stuff. She says the one she encountered at a San Antonio Bass Pro Shops refused to be photographed with Caleb, who has a genetic brain and muscle disorder, on his lap.
According to KENS 5, Caleb has been hospitalized 11 times since March. But despite his medical issues, Self wanted her son to experience sitting on Santa's lap.
Instead, Self said after she unhooked Caleb from his breathing apparatus and other medical equipment, Santa stood up to hold him, then quickly handed him off after one photo.
"We've been through a lot this year, physically, mentally, emotionally, financially, and everything," Self told KENS 5. "This was basically the icing on the cake."
Bass Pro Shops has since apologized for the incident and offered Self a gift certificate and a one-on-one photo session with Santa. She declined and suggested they make a donation to medical research instead.
"This is not something we feel great about," said a spokesman in a statement, who added that all store Santas, elves and store employees who take part in the shop's free Santa picture promotion go through sensitivity training before every holiday season.
We think this guy may need a refresher course!
As for Self, she is overwhelmed by the response her story has received after she posted about her plight on Facebook.
"I am in amazement all the kind words, support, and shares it has gotten so far. I have been fighting back tears all day from reading them," she wrote in a recent update. "I couldn't possibly be more blessed or thankful for the wonderful people out there... Nothing is mightier than the pen or shall I say in this case the keyboard. I don't want this to EVER happen to another disabled child again. Thank you from the bottom of our hearts for getting the word out there. We truly appreciate it."