A dad in Scotland said a harmless trip to the mall to meet Santa turned into a humiliating experience for his son.

Marc Ollerenshaw took his wheelchair-bound 6-year-old and his brother to Gouldings Garden Centre’s Winter Wonderland in Lanarkshire for a fun holiday outing with the family.

Yet after waiting in line for 90 minutes to meet Santa, he left the mall fuming.

* Update: we have today spoken with the owners of Gouldings and have been assured that they will handle the complaint in…

Posted by Marc Ollerenshaw on Sunday, December 16, 2018

Ollerenshaw took to Facebook to vent his frustrations about an inappropriate remark that allegedly left his son embarrassed and sunk down in his wheelchair.

The dad-of-two claims that the actor playing Santa made an off-handed comment about Harley’s disability.

Ollerenshaw recalled:

It’s our first year there and we loved it didn’t even mind the 90min wait but to then get to Santa and as Harley entered the room in his wheelchair the first words out of Santa’s mouth were:

‘Oh what happened to you, was you in an accident?’

The father said Harley wasn’t sure how to respond but said:

“‘No, I was born like this.’”

Posted by Marc Ollerenshaw on Sunday, December 24, 2017

Ollerenshaw continued:

“And then to our horror Santa then replies with:

‘Will you ever be able to walk?'”

The dad said he was “absolutely disgusted” and shared the post with his followers who reacted to the post by saying:

What was that Santa thinking!!?

Some commenters even said this Santa needs a lesson on manners. One follower wrote:

Wow, that’s disgusting I don’t think I would have had the willpower to hold it together like you …

Ollerenshaw, 27, told the Sun he didn’t spend good money and stand in line for nearly two hours for his son to be insulted. However, he wrote his Facebook message not as a “witch hunt” to get St. Nick fired.

On the contrary, he said his son suffers from a rare medical condition, and he actually wants to bring awareness to the issue. Ollerenshaw explained:

“We just want people to be aware that something that doesn’t seem like a sensitive situation to you might be to someone else.”

Posted by Marc Ollerenshaw on Sunday, December 24, 2017

Although the Scot said the incident was, “disgraceful, it should never have happened,” representatives from Gouldings Garden Centre promptly apologized for the unfortunate experience.

A spokesperson for the mall told Yahoo Lifestyle:

After a conversation with Mark this morning I would like to make clear that all complaints are taken seriously and we have addressed all concerns with the Ollerenshaw family resulting in both parties being happy with the handling of the situation.

What do you think of Santa asking a 6-year-old these questions instead of what he wanted for Christmas?

About the author

Tiffani is a writer for Dearly. She is from New York City. Prior to working for Dearly she covered fashion news and managed social media for various digital media outlets.

Leave a comment

20 Replies to “Dad Left Mall ‘Fuming’ After Santa Asks if Son Will Ever Walk Again Instead of Discussing His Christmas List”

  • Goldie 2 years ago

    Distasteful and inappropriate given the situation. Santa should fulfill his role in asking children what they want for Christmas. Then a genuine smile and have a merry Christmas.

  • Mindy Sharrae Robinson 2 years ago

    I don’t think Santa said anything wrong, I think the problem lies in the fact that as a society we teach children that they have something to be ashamed about if they have some sort of handicap. Children at age 6 don’t usually experience embarrassment, if they do someone taught them they have something to be embarrassed about. What the man asked the child is no different then asking a child with a broken arm what happened.

    • trebor hcirdla 2 years ago

      I agree Mindy. I think the Dad is over reacting to an innocent question and the Dad needs to know he can’t shelter his kid from questions like this that will be asked of his child for his entire life. It is the problem we have today with our Millennials, they are all so concerned about PC behavior that we are turning out a bunch of woosies!

      • Anonymous 2 years ago

        I don’t have a problem with the what happened. You’re right that’s what you might say if you saw a child with a cast or crutches. But will you ever walk again is like saying to the child will they have to amputate your leg if it doesn’t get better.

    • DRae 2 years ago

      That is what I was thinking.

  • April Walden 2 years ago

    I agree it’s an innocent question and maybe something was said that brought it up. I think he’s overreacting and looking for the spotlight. If he’s trying to bring awareness to his son’s condition then he could have at least mentioned what it was!

  • Gidge 2 years ago

    Why would anyone do that to a child? That makes my heart hurt.

  • Cara 2 years ago

    I think Santa was just showing an interest in the child. We at times say “don’t stare, ask questions, learn about the person” then we complain because people do ask questions.
    My son has autism. He is not embarrassed or ashamed about it. He knows that it is called a disability because it is different than most people. But I’ve also taught him that it doesn’t mean he is disabled, it means that he has different abilities than a lot of people. We all have strengths and weakness and things that make us special – different than others.

  • Jim 2 years ago

    A sign of the times… Dad is a SNOWFLAKE! If the conversation went as reported, Santa said nothing wrong. Pretending the boy is normal is the insensitive thing. Would dad have been happy if Santa offered to bring the boy a football or skates?

  • David 2 years ago

    Maybe Santa was asking out of concern and not trying to make the child feel bad. Sometimes compassion come out different if you don’t LISTEN with an open mind!

  • Anonymous 2 years ago

    I don’t think the Santa did anything wrong. He showed concern for the boy, he wasn’t being disrespectful.

  • MariaRose 2 years ago

    I would have liked to have heard the child’s view on what Santa said and how it made him feel. Doesn’t the father discuss with the child that people might ask him questions like this and how to answer? It appears from the response given the Santa, he knew how to respond to that question. If the child enjoyed the visit, why put down the Santa, unless the father was also responding to having to wait on a line. (maybe he expected to get pushed up the line, ahead of others on the line) Some people do have problems waiting.

  • David 2 years ago

    The santa (small letters) is very insensitive – He should be fired and made to go to a Santa School to
    learn how to act as one and how to handle children, and , adults with disabilities.

  • Dan Gaspers 2 years ago

    Speaking from the fact that I have been in a wheelchair for 33 plus years due to a head injury that I suffered in a motorcycle accident, I do not believe Santa did anything wrong…Santa was just asking the little boy a question about his handicap, it didn’t seem to bother the little boy so why would it bother the father?

  • Anonymous 2 years ago

    Frankly Santa should not asked that question do you think you will walk. That’s not something you ask a child. I would have let him have it. Santa’s ask what would you like for Christmas that’s it.

  • Evydev 2 years ago

    Maybe if you stopped teaching kids about Santa and taught them the true meaning of Christmas. At least Jesus would be able to do something about the boy’s condition.

  • Melanie Heitz 2 years ago

    I recall the opposite happening with my 5 year old son at the time. We were grocery shopping and he saw a young man who was an amputee and had a hook as a prosthetic. Before I could catch him he went right up alongside this young man looking close at his prosthetic. As I rushed up to my son the young man looked at me and said it’s okay. My son asked is that real with wide eyes? The young man explained his injury of how he lost his hand and then he did something very special. He told my son they could shake hands, he of course using the prosthetic hand. My son was so excited and said, mom I want one of those. With that the young man waved with the prosthetic hand and continued shopping. My son and I had talks about how one feels to lose something that is so valuable. I recall that like it was yesterday and by that young man’s actions it helped my son realize nothing is wrong with having a disability whatever the cause may be. With that said perhaps Santa should not have been so immaturely blunt, but dad and mom this was a great learning opportunity so your son could explain his disability and make someone aware and whoever will be next to inquire about why he is in the wheelchair or if he will walk again.

  • Ellen Bruso 2 years ago

    It seems like the son didn’t have an issue until dad had an issue. A six year old being mature enough to say ” No, I was born like this” but dad taking immediate offense and not being mature enough to simply educate Santa. Was there a time limit on how long the child could visit with Santa? Could the father not interject and tell his child to tell Santa what he wanted for Christmas?

  • Mom to 4 2 years ago

    I believe the father is taking it out of intended context. To me, the words seem to come from a place of pain (and shock) having seen such a young person (with his whole life ahead if him) in a debilitated state. Maybe his words weren’t the best choice, but we all have 20/20 vision AFTER we say or do something. Life is unscripted and often we think of a “better way” only after we do (or say) something. I believe he was showing concern and compassion. But NO ONE is perfect, not even Santa.

  • Michael Anthony Thomas 2 years ago

    Dad is a text book definition of snowflake, I think he overreacted.

We are excited to announce Dearly has joined forces with Mama’s Uncut. Helping Mom’s across the United States answer questions on life’s big challenges.

DEARLY JOINING FORCES WITH MAMA'S UNCUT