Anthony Mayse took a seat on Santa’s lap, looked into his eyes, and told the elderly chimney-hopper exactly what he wants this Christmas: an iPod touch and a drone.
But at the end of their friendly chat, the 9-year-old boy says that Santa decided to give the rosy-cheeked lad something else: an earful of Christmas-crushing body shame.
“When he got done, he said, ‘Lay off the hamburgers and french fries,’ ” Mayse told ABC affiliate WLOS. “And that really just disrespected me, and I felt awful.”
Mayse said he felt so awful, in fact, that as soon as he got a few feet away from the bad Santa he burst into tears.
As the night wore on, the child told the station, his world continued to unravel.
“It affected me so bad that I was crying until I went to bed that night,” he added. “And I want to say to him, ‘You don’t want to disrespect a 9-year-old. Even though what shape and size you are, it doesn’t matter.’ ”
In a final act of mic-dropping, body-affirming defiance, he even tore up the photo he took with the Kris Kringle-turned-Krampus.
The exchange allegedly occurred Saturday at an annual holiday fair in Forest City, N.C., where a crowd of children had gathered around a miniature brick house to sit on Santa’s lap to take pictures and make gift requests, WLOS reported.
The Santa in question is employed by the town of Forest City, the station reported. He wasn’t identified by the station, but he was last seen wearing an oversized red suit, a woolly cap and a smug look on his face (we can only assume).
Ashley Mayse, Anthony’s mother, told the station that she took her son and his cousin out to have a festive time that included a carriage ride, ice skating and a chance to sit on St. Nick’s lap. She said she expected the man to spread holiday cheer, but instead he seemed as if he “didn’t want to be there to do the job.”
“Very rude,” Mayse told WLOS. “I’ve never seen anything like it. What set me off is when he started crying.”
“I was just mind-blown,” she added. “I wished a million times that we never went.”
After her son was bullied, Mayse told WLOS that she confronted the town manager, who forced Santa to apologize to Mayse and her son.
“When he went to apologize to me, he didn’t even mean it,” Anthony noted.
Mayse would like Santa to be fired, but WLOS reported that the manager declined to reveal whether Santa was punished.
“I’m hoping he’s fired, because I don’t want any kid feeling like he did Saturday,” Mayse said, adding that she would never return to Santa again. “I mean, it destroyed him.”
WLOS anchor Larry Blunt noted that there could be long-term consequences for Anthony, as well.
“The boy was so upset he may never sit down with Saint Nick again.”