4-year-old says 'bad Santa' denied his request for Nerf gun for Christmas at Illinois mall

Mall Santa says ‘no’ to a Nerf gun for Christmas

Michael and Sabella DeCarlo describe what happened to their son who was denied a Nerf gun from a mall Santa.

Michael DeCarlo, 4, called the Illinois mall Santa Claus who rejected his request for a Nerf gun for Christmas a "bad Santa" on “Fox & Friends” on Wednesday.

DeCarlo appeared with his parents, Michael and Sabella, who described what happened to their son at the Harlem Irving Plaza in Norridge and blasted the employee, who was reportedly dubbed 'Woke Santa’ on social media, for denying their son’s request.

“Even if he doesn't agree with Nerf guns or guns, that's fine, but it's not his job to tell my son ‘no.’ It’s my job to tell my son ‘no,’” Sabella said.  

“And I clearly reassured [Santa] that it was okay so he could have just glazed over it and moved on. I feel like he shamed my son for his choice in toys,” she added.  

The New York Post reported that “the politically correct” mall Santa told DeCarlo that he wouldn’t bring him the toy, which caused the 4-year-old to cry. The exchange was captured on video taken by his grandmother and was then posted on Facebook and went viral.

The video shows the Santa denying DeCarlo’s request, saying, “Nope, no guns.’’

When his mother clarified that he was asking for a Nerf gun, he said, ‘Nope, not even a Nerf gun.’

“If your dad wants to get it for you that’s fine, but I can’t bring it to you,” he added. He then asked DeCarlo what else he would like. Shortly thereafter, DeCarlo started to cry.

“I was just in shock,” Sabella told “Fox & Friends," adding that she went over to her son and consoled him.

“I just wanted to get him out of there. It's not like he asked for a unicorn or a puppy, he asked for a toy that they sell in every retailer even at that mall,” she added.


“I know that for some parents they don't allow Nerf guns in their homes. It's a personal choice and that's fine. We respect that, but it's a mainstream toy so I was really taken aback and not prepared at all for that kind of reaction.”

Michael Sr. said when his wife told him about what had happened at the mall he was “angry” and “sad” for his child.

He noted that “fortunately a bad thing ended up turning into a really good thing for Michael and a bunch of other little kids everywhere so we are happy about that.”

Michael Sr. was referencing the actions of the mall and toy company Hasbro following the event.

Harlem Irving Plaza wrote on Facebook that the mall and their third-party Santa company were “distraught and deeply apologetic about the unfortunate incident which occurred at [the] Santa set on December 6, as both parties strive for families and their children to have a happy holiday experience.

“The Santa company will continue to remind all Santa’s how important it is to not impose personal opinions during visits with the children,” the statement continued.

Host Ainsley Earhardt noted that the mall apologized and sent a Santa to the DeCarlo home with the Nerf gun the boy had asked for and that Hasbro, the company that owns the Nerf brand, mailed him some.

The mall posted a video on its Facebook page showing the new Santa giving DeCarlo a wrapped gift.

Earhardt also pointed to a statement from the toy company, which said, “The entire Hasbro team was moved by Mikey's love for Nerf so we’re thrilled to be able to surprise him with a care package of our latest Nerf blasters just in time for the holidays.”

DeCarlo said the toys made him feel “good.”

The Nerf guns have been the subject of warnings in recent years. Doctors from Moorfield Eye Hospital in London warned people about the popular Hasbro toy following three patients who were treated for traumatic hyphema, internal bleeding in the eye, after being hit with Nerf gun bullets, according to a report published by British Medical Journal in 2017.

Though all three people reportedly made a full recovery, doctors said they were worried the toys can cause long-term vision loss.

Hasbro said in a statement to Fox News in 2017 that its toys were tested for safety and fun and that Nerf foam darts and foam rounds shouldn’t pose as a concern when they’re used properly.

“Consumers must never aim NERF blasters at a person’s eyes or face, should only use the foam darts and foam rounds designed for specific NERF blasters, and never modify darts or blasters,” a Hasbro spokeswoman said at the time.

She also said off-brand guns similar to the Nerf models could be made with a harder material.

Michael Sr. said that Nerf guns are “just a toy.”

“We always go over proper handling anyway,” he said, adding that his son “doesn’t point it at anybody” and keeps his “finger off the trigger.” 


The mall Santa resigned, according to Harlem Irving Plaza, which added that the “Santa is heartbroken and crushed that he has made this child so sad and upset.”

Fox News’ Katherine Lam contributed to this report.

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