Dec. 7) -- Macy's has fired a veteran Santa Claus at one of its San Francisco stores after a couple complained that a joke he told them was inappropriate.
John Toomey, 68, a popular Kris Kringle at the Union Square Macy's for the past 20 years, was told over the weekend that his services would no longer be needed because of objections from an older woman and her husband who visited him, the San Francisco Chronicle reported.
"When I ask the older people who sit on my lap if they've been good and they say, 'Yes,' I say, 'Gee, that's too bad,'" Toomey told the newspaper Monday. "Then, if they ask why Santa is so jolly, I joke that it's because I know where all the naughty boys and girls live." He said it was the first time anyone complained about the joke.
Toomey told the Chronicle that he doesn't crack the joke when kids sit on his lap.
A Macy's spokeswoman told the Chronicle the company had no comment about the dismissal because it was a personnel matter, but the newspaper said several workers at the department store were distraught that Toomey was let go. "Everybody's just heartsick about this," said one worker, who asked not to be identified because of store policy.
Toomey, meanwhile, said he hopes to get work at parties and other stores. "I've got my Social Security and some savings, so I'll be OK," he told the Chronicle. "But I sure do miss being Santa."