Shoppers at Philadelphia-area malls have been unpleasantly surprised this holiday season, as two longtime mall Santas have seemingly disappeared.
At the Concord Mall in Wilmington, the beloved Santa A. Claus was fired– after 18 years on the job! NBC Philadelphia reports that the beloved Santa A. is now working two hours away at the Jersey Garden Mall, but no one seems to know what happened to the longtime Santa at the King of Prussia Mall in King of Prussia, Pa.
But replacement Santas aren’t the only thing that put a damper on mall festivities during the holiday season. Check out this roundup of past mall Santa mishaps.
* In 1967, a helicopter carrying a shopping center Santa crashed as 1000 onlookers watched in horror at the North Park Shopping Center in Evansville, Indiana. According to the Evansville Courier & Press, the Santa Claus impersonator, 59-year-old William Bretz, died in the accident after the helicopter touched a power line.
* A mall Santa in Palm Beach Garden, Florida was left dangling in 2011, when his beard got caught during a rappelling stunt. As seen on video posted to CBS12, the Santa had planned a grand entrance by descending to the floor of the shopping mall, but his fake beard got caught in his ropes. As horrified children looked on, the stunt Santa was able to free himself and descend to ground level—but only after losing his hat and beard.
* In 2010 a longtime Macy’s Santa Claus was fired after he told an off-color joke to an adult couple. According to the “Today Show,”former Macy’s Santa John Toomey Toomey reportedly made a joke to adults in his line, saying he knows “where all the naughty boys and girls live” when asked why he’s so jolly. Toomey was canned by Macy’s, but later landed a more adult- friendly Santa gig at Lefty O’Doul’s, a local pub.
* At a shopping mall in Canada, Santa Claushas gone digitalfor the 2011 Christmas season. According to the Toronto Eaton Centre’s website, the mall won’t have children wait in line to sit on Santa’s lap this year. Instead, eager kids must sign up in advance for a one-hour group story time session with the mall Santa. For the rest of the season, Santa is taking orders via pre-registered Skype sessions.
* In 2010, a gang of drunken revelers dressed in Santa attire attempted to invade a Dayton-area mall Santa Claus line, with plans to sing off-color Christmas carols. According to the Dayton Daily News, two women were arrested as the group of nearly 100 people wreaked havoc on the mall Santa’s turf. Suffice it to say, that whole crew landed on Santa’s naughty list.