I am writing to tell the community of a heartbreaking event that happened at the Santa area in Rotterdam Mall, on the evening of Wednesday, December 8th.
My daughter and I had a nice dinner at the mall and headed over to get my grandson’s picture taken with Santa. My grandson has Autism, so it’s a bit difficult to keep him occupied while we waited for Santa’s return at .
Santa arrived and since we were first in line we were ushered down to Santa’s area for our pictures. The gentleman taking the pictures was pleasant, friendly and very patient. It was taking our little guy a bit longer to realize what we wanted of him (to sit still and smile with Santa so the man could take his picture).
I could tell by Santa’s face that he was getting a bit impatient. We set up a chair next to Santa because our little guy kept jumping off his lap. At one point, my daughter went to sit him further up in the chair and while she was doing that, she told Santa “I’m sorry it’s taking a bit longer, my son has Autism so he is impatient to be moving”.
I was standing a foot or two away. Imagine my astonishment when I heard “Santa” say “Well that’s your fault for feeding him lead in his food”. WHAT???
To say that ruined the whole evening would be a gross understatement. My daughter at that point picked up our little guy, told the photographer to print the best picture and while she paid for it, I calmed our little guy and got him into his coat. I have to say how much I admire my daughter for not losing her temper or making a scene. However, knowing there were other little ones in the area and my grandson was gearing up for a melt down, she decided to wait to put in a complaint.
I called my daughter in the morning, intending to return the pictures (can you imagine the memory they bring back when we look at them). She asked me to wait, she would call and talk to someone.
To make a long story short, even after a few calls from friends and other family members, the company basically said “sorry, your word against his and he said he doesn’t recall the incident.” I would like to take this time to remind the company that it is mine and my daughter’s word against him as I heard him very clearly. To be honest, all my daughter was wanting was a sincere apology from “Santa”. You know, the guy they hired that is supposed to be happy, jolly and loves kids.
Why am I writing this letter? I just want to let my daughter know that not everyone is as ignorant and uneducated about Autism as this man obviously is. More and more, our community is becoming aware of our special little ones and the strong dedicated parents that love them. And I also wish to let our community know about the company that so obviously looks the other way in favor of this ignorance.