NUNEHAM COURTENAY, Northern Ireland, Dec. 20 (UPI) -- A Santa in Northern Ireland was suspended for telling children seeking his counsel about the school shooting in Newtown, Conn.
Parents Wendy and Steven Kennett complained to management at Notcutts Garden Centre in Nuneham Courtenay, Oxford, after the man playing Santa allegedly spoke to three young siblings raising the specter of the school shootings before the parents could step in and interrupt him, the Belfast Telegraph said Thursday.
One of the children asked Santa about whether they were on the naughty list. The man replied, "Well there are bad people in the world and bad things happen, like what happened to those children in America."
The man then told one of the children Santa isn't real and that it's his parents putting presents under the tree.
Kennett said one of his sons ran away crying and told his brother and sister, which is when management was brought in. The children's mother said she was left with youngsters in a "flood of tears."
Managers at the garden center described the man as a "freelance" Santa and said he'd been suspended for the remainder of the Christmas season.