'I Want Kurt Cobain's Body': The Saddest And Strangest Mall Santa Experiences Of All Time.
Mall Santas of Reddit were asked: "What is the most disturbing, heart-wrenching or weirdest thing a child has asked you for?" These are some of the best answers.
2/24 When I was six my big sister spent weeks carefully coaching me to say, "Santa, all I want for Christmas is a cure for my contagious hemorrhoids, which are on my butt and now on your lap."
I had no idea what it meant, but I said it perfectly--Santa looked like he wanted to murder me.
3/24 I think the saddest one I ever watched was waiting in line with my daughter at Wal-Mart to be next on Santa's lap and the boy in front of her was whispering which was weird all of them had been kind of average we could hear their responses. He also looked about 8 or 9 and was so frail looking. Well I guess he finally got tired of being asked what he wanted because the associate couldn't hear him. He finally spoke up that he wanted food, because his tummy was tired of hurting and so was Mommy and Daddy's but that Daddy couldn't find another job yet he had an owie.
The associate being Santa had the camera girl call the manager of the store and when they showed up they had a cart with all the fixing for a dinner, as well as canned goods, soups, snack foods, etc. And gave it to the family. I wasn't even mad for the half hour hold up after that it made me feel better knowing the little boy and any sibling he might have as well as his family weren't going to go hungry, or have minuscule amounts to eat for a little while at least.
4/24 Teenagers like to sit on your lap and try to 'shock' you (which probably works with many Santas but I was pretty young when I did the job). One evening this rocker girl came in with her friends and sat on my lap and when I asked her what she wanted for xmas, she said, "Kurt Cobain's body."
So I put on this guilty act and replied, "Oh, I still feel really bad about that 'cause I gave him the gun."
5/24 I was Elementary School Santa for three years. This experience still haunts me....
I'd had a long morning of little tykes with retail advertising dreams of all kinds of shiny new 'must have' toys, older boys with dreams of motorized vehicles, and older girls with dreams of 'cute boys' and makeup and clothes. After a break to 'feed the reindeer'.. (those costumes are HOT), I returned to a busy classroom filled with kids working at all the activities and having fun. And then, after another hour of the usual, I met two little children dressed in their Sunday best.
And each of them perched on my knee, looked deep into my eyes, and asked, quietly and from the depths of their hearts, "Please Santa. I don't want any toys. I don't want anything. I just want my baby sister to get better." And suddenly I knew who they were... their little sister, age 7, was dying of cancer in the local Children's hospital. We had already done a school fundraiser for her and her family. Our Scout Troop had raked leaves at their house, and helped them with their Thanksgiving dinner.
It took everything I had to not weep. I hugged each child close in turn, gave them their candy cane, and told them that it wasn't up to Santa, but I would do my best to put in a good word with the guy upstairs. And told them to remember that everybody loved them too, and that it was OK to have fun for themselves. And that I would do what I could to make sure they had some presents.
They each smiled a little bit in turn, and went to hug each other and their grandmother. I could see the smile through the pain in her eyes and she led them to other activities.
I called a break to 'check on Rudolph on the roof', and walked as rapidly as I could to the teacher's lounge. Where I wept quietly for the little girl, and her family, and the unselfish love of little children.
And then put on the Suit and went back to work with a broken heart.
She died two days after Christmas. We planted a butterfly garden at the school in her name, just outside the office window. It's a pretty place, with a shaded bench and brilliant flowers. And the butterflies come there in the summer and dance.
6/24 I am not a Mall Santa, just a nurse on peds ICU. Me being one of the few males it was my turn to be Santa for the kids in children's hospital. I also like to dress up, mainly as a super-hero but thats not the point here.
We are used to some really hard and tough requests kids make, but the one I'll remember for the rest of my life is a kid with few months to live and who knows it... he asked from Santa to promise him he'll take care of the family and animals, which is not the first time a kid has asked something like that, but he was very precise and knew exactly what each and every one of them would like and enjoy. He was four years old.
7/24 I was a mall Santa once in college. I'm from the Northeast US and college was in the deep South. My elves were girls from a local business school who were running the mall Santa thing as a senior project.
The best thing that happened was when a bunch of the elves' friends showed up and whispered some very unladylike things in Santa's ears, just to see how red they could make Santa's cheeks.
The funniest was one little kid who, after I had been chatting with him for a while, looked at me wide-eyed and said, "Santa, you sound like a Yankee!" After a few seconds of frantic desperation, I simply told him, "Well, that's because I live at the NORTH Pole." He found the logic inescapable, plus me promising him a football helped.
8/24 A few years back I filled in for Santa at a locally owned toy store - as I don't QUITE look old enough to be Santa (and I have a full lush gingery lumberjack beard) I was billed as "Nick Jr" and the story was that my dad was Santa and I was in training to be the next Santa - he was having me go and fill in for him at some of the usual stops as part of my training in getting to talk to the little kids.
Oh man, the kids loved that. There was a rocking chair that I was "supposed" to sit in, but I sat on the floor with the kids and chatted and it was friggin' AWESOME. The kids really connected with this idea of a "trainee Santa"
The most heart-wrenching story was a little girl, about 7 or so, who was staying with her dad and stepmom because her mommy was deathly ill in the hospital. She came and saw me every day that I was there and she just wanted to talk to someone she KNEW could really understand where she was coming from in her fear. She hoped that she could come visit the North Pole, but understood if it wasn't possible.
My last day of the gig she brought me a handwritten-in-crayon note thanking me for everything, saying she was glad to have met me and hoping that I grew up to be the best Santa ever. Lemme tell ya, all the feels. I am going to keep that damned note forever.
9/24 I worked as a mall santa in high school and likely experienced every story you could imagine, but one in particular stands out most vividly in my mind.
A young boy waited quietly with his mother in line until it was his turn to sit in my lap and have his picture taken. As his mother started to follow him up towards my chair, he turned around and yelled, "No! Mommm you have to stay back thereee!" I watched the mom look at him pleadingly and she reluctantly agreed to keep her distance. As I tried to make sense of the situation, I invited him up to my chair.
He looked to be 8 or 9, which was older than most (~75%) of the kids in line. When I got around to asking him what he wanted for Christmas, his eyes locked onto mine and it happened: "If you're real, then aren't you supposed to know?"
As I fumbled around with my words, it dawned on me. Here he was, on the cusp of becoming a non-believer, and his plan was to make sure his mother couldn't whisper to me the gift he had been hoping for. I tried to play it cool, and come up with an explanation on the fly, when suddenly the mother dropped her bags and started jumping, punching, and kicking the air. Furiously! Shoppers stopped dead in their tracks, staring at her (we were at the main intersection of a two-story indoor mall).
I said something along the lines of "well you can't expect me to bring you those Power Rangers if you aren't a good boy and listen to your mother!" He melted, instantly. His eyes grew wide and his jaw dropped. Before I could react he buried his head into my foam padded chest and gave me the best hug all Christmas season.
The mother couldn't believe it herself, and tried to gather herself as her overjoyed son turned to run and explain to her how Santa really is real, and that he had proven it (at least for another year). Worth it.
10/24 I wasn't Santa, but I was playing the elf role. There was one instance where a little girl came in with her father. She must have been 4 or 5. She sat on Santa's lap and he asked her what she wanted for Christmas. Timidly, she whispered something. Santa couldn't hear her so he asked her again. She said, a little louder "I want my mommy for Christmas." The girl started crying and the dad immediately rushed up and grabbed her. He was rubbing her back and saying "We talked about this honey, mommy's gone to heaven." And she was sobbing and sobbing and the dad started to cry and he ran with her out of the mall.
It was the most depressing thing I had ever experienced. I saw at least 5 or 6 mothers in line silently shedding tears watching the spectacle.
11/24 When I was a freshman in college, I got a gig as a mall santa at a smaller local mall. A little girl came up to me and sat on my lap. I asked her in the most jovial way what she wanted for Christmas. She pulls out a picture of her dead dog and says "Can you bring my dog back?" The look on her face when I said no was heart wrenching.
12/24 My daughter asked Santa for me to have a baby this weekend. Everyone laughed and thought it was super cute but it made me feel so bad. My boyfriend died recently and all her friend's mothers are married and pregnant. She wants to be a big sister so badly.
13/24 When I was 17 I worked for a K-Mart and volunteered to be the store's Santa. Mostly because it meant I could spend a majority of my Saturday shift sitting in a chair as opposed to pushing shopping carts.
We would offer free photos inside a little pre-made K-Mart Christmas card. The kids were easy. Ask what they want for Christmas, snap a photo, and done. Every once and while you would get the kids screaming bloody murder while their parents force them to take a picture with Santa. But I was that screaming kid once so it never really bothered me.
Adults was where it got a little creepy. Since the photos were free the mothers would get in on it as well. Some would just openly hit on me "Can I have you for Christmas?" The worst was an older woman who looked me in the eyes an said "I just want the pain to go away, Santa." Me being 17 years old had no idea what to say. "Uhhh, okay!"
14/24 It was Christmas eve 2004 and the father of a family with little kids, who were losing their belief in Santa, decided to rent a suit, climb up on the roof, make a bunch of noise and have jingle bells jingling so the kids will hear, run outside and see Santa with their own eyes....
We had a busy day on the engine (Firefighter) including a child air lifted to hospital from a really bad MVA, a house fire that destroyed a house, then this call.
Well, Santa was on the roof, making noise, kids run outside, 6, 8, 11, and Santa is lying on the ground. The family calls 911, we show up, Santa is having aganol respirations, and his heart was in V-Fib. We ended up doinf CPR on him, including airway and multiple shocks, all in front of his family.
We tried several times to remove the family to protect them, but they wouldn't listen. tears I can't ever remove the vision from my mind of the children's faces, as they saw Santa being worked, then realizing Santa was their dad, then their dad had died.
15/24 I have been doing the Santa for a few years now and work at a tree farm with a cabin in it. There was an older woman (mid-twenties) that was mentally handicapped and when she sat on this Santa's lap she got really quiet and it took him asking her what she wanted for Christmas several times before she spoke up. She said, "Santa, my mommy is dying and I need one more year with mommy, Santa, please give mommy one more year." Before he could say anything she threw her arms around him and gave him a hug while she started crying. Her care taker (possibly father) then lead her awa
The next Christmas she came back to the farm and was very excited to see Santa, you see her mother had lived for another year and she sat on Santa knee and asked Santa for another year, that she knew and believed in him and that she had been very good the whole year through. She had been careful to be good and came to Santa again because she wanted her mommy to live for another year, just like last year. "Santa, just one more year, please Santa, just one more year." Again, before he could say anything, she was giving him a near strangling hug and then was led away by her care taker.
The next year she was back, but she was obviously very upset. She sat again on Santa's knee and looked at him and started to sob. She said she knew Santa had tried his hardest, that he did the best he could, that she should have asked for ten years the first time instead of just the one. She apologized for being so angry at Santa for letting her mommy die.
This Santa looked at her and gave her a long hug and he said to her, "My child, your mommy has passed away, but she will live forever in your heart as long you remember her." She got really quiet and stopped crying and looked at him. She whispered to him, "I love you mommy. I love you Santa." She hugged him very tightly and then was led away by her care taker.
She has not been back since, but my co-Santa said to me that it was moments and people like her that make being Santa so important to him and why he will never quit.
16/24 One day I had a long line of kids all upset and crying. A company was having their xmas party in another part of the mall and had their own Santa who was handing out presents to the children of the employees. Problem was that this was in full view of the public, so it was clear that there were TWO SANTAS at the mall. And only one was handing out presents.
17/24 When my wife worked with high functioning developmentally disabled adults she asked me to be santa at the xmas party, I thought "this should be fun".
While most of them asked for the usual stuff one resident who was in his twenties told me he didn't want to be [developmentally disabled] anymore and he wanted to get married and have kids. What the hell do you say after that?
18/24 An ex girlfriend's company did an xmas party for child cancer patients at a prominent NYC cancer hospital every year. I went to volunteer and they asked me to dress as Santa and walk around handing out candy canes and other little toys.
Well one kid who was about 4 had scars all around his head. He motioned for me to bend down and whispered to me "All I want for xmas is to be able to see you again next xmas."
The tears just started pouring out. His parents told me he had brain cancer and has had over 15 operations through his short life. Well I made little man my helper that day. I carried him on my shoulders the rest of the day (while crying most of the day) and he helped me hand out candy canes and presents all day. I even took a break and ran to a nearby toys r us and got him a huge rudolph stuffed animal and went to a make up place nearby and had them make a red circle on his chest with permanent makeup I went back, went into costume and told him rudolph dropped this off for him and kissed his chest with his nose. The smile that came across his face is something I will never forget His parents came up to me at the end crying their eyes out saying this is the happiest they have seen him in over a year
We broke up shortly after and idk if he made it to the next xmas. All I know is it took a ton of coke and liquor that night to numb the sadness of that day. Since then I've gone through some [stuff] and came close to killing myself a few times, but thinking of that kid has stopped me. I figured if he went thru all that in 4 short years any problem I have pales in comparison.
19/24 I was a Santa for a company that organized Christmas parties for shops and businesses.
My dad hopped along on some parties. I told him before he went on his first not to ask kids what they wanted, but to tell them he had received their letters and the elves were working on it.
Called dad after the event. He was shaken. I asked him why.
He told me: "I asked the kids what they wanted for Christmas. This little guy sitting on my lap looked at his mom and said "I want mommy and daddy to get back together and love each other again..." I had a tough time finishing the afternoon..."
20/24 I have 2 nephews both with December birthdays, so for their third birthday, we had a Santa party for them and their Sunday school class.
I dressed as Santa for the kids. Older cousins knew it was me. Others didn't.
This little boy climbs up on my lap with the saddest look on his face. My mom tried to shoot me some kind of signal but it was already too late. The little boy looked up me and when I asked him what he wanted for Christmas, he said in the tiniest voice, "Can I have my daddy back?"
The boy's dad had been killed in a gas explosion a couple of weeks before. I knew it had happened but I didn't know this little boy was his son. I sat there with that little boy on my lap, trying to not let him see Santa cry as I explained that there are things even Santa can't give us and that his daddy was with Jesus now. I had to try to explain death to a 3 year old who just wanted his daddy home for Christmas and I was this magical person who for some reason couldn't deliver. I had never felt more powerless.
21/24 I used to volunteer as an elf for Santa where we would visit underprivileged children. I was probably about 13 at the time. There were lots of heartbreaking things - kids asking for school supplies, cheap toys I had plenty of, etc. Once Santa said he would see what he could do about their gift, I would hand them a little toy, and say "Merry Christmas!"
And then a little boy came up, probably no older than 6. Santa asked him what he wanted. He paused, and quietly responded, "A family." Santa didn't know what to say. My heart dropped. It was the first time I realized how much I took the love from my family for granted.
Santa somehow managed to ask the kid again, getting him to spit out a skateboard as his answer. I hope that kid got more than just his skateboard.
22/24 Was doing the Santa-equivalent in my old elementary school in Spain. A diabetic girl came and when I asked her what she wanted for Christmas, she answered "a strawberry cake", with quite a sad face. I've been doing this for four years and I still remember that girl and how it moved me that day.
23/24 I used to be a big sister for the Big Brothers Big Sisters program and around the holidays they ask all the volunteers to pitch in to throw several free holiday parties for the kids.
Somehow I ended up being Santa at one of these shindigs despite the fact that I was: (1) A woman (2) blonde (3) 17 years old (4) 5'5 and normal weight. You get the idea, I was a [crappy] Santa but basically all we had.
An ton of big sibs and little sibs showed up at this thing and by the 80th kid on my lap I had fallen into a steady rhythm. Say some Christmas-y stuff, tease the kid about being a nice not naughty, get the present request, take a picture, whisper present request to big sib so Christmas miracles really would happen that year.
That is until this little boy with the biggest brown eyes in the world sat on my lap and whispered in my ear, "Santa just tell Daddy we all miss him. But I'm being a brave boy and taking care of Mommy like he said." I was stunned, I sat there speechless until he said, "Mommy told me even you can't bring him back, but tell him I love him Santa" and he patted my pillow belly and hopped down.
I wish I could say I did something heroic or life altering for this kid but the truth is I had no idea what to say to make that better. No promises of trucks or footballs was going to make him feel better. Thinking about it still gives me chills.
24/24 I was an elf at the mall, and one time the santa asked us to give him a little break. When the mall closed I asked him what that was all about. He said he asked a little boy (about 7-8) what he wanted for Xmas, and the boy said shoes, socks and maybe some new sheets. He asked the boy "Don't you want some DVDs or a cool new toy?" And the boy said "No, that's okay, those things are really expensive. I just want to see a present with my name on it, and I think I'd like to have two pairs of shoes." Broke my heart because I was that kid. I know how it feels to see nice things and think those things aren't meant for me.
"It wasn't me!"
There's not much you can do when the righteous fist of the law comes down on you. Call it a mix-up, or call it a mistake, if someone's pegged you at the scene of a crime there's not much you can do but trust the justice system to prove you innocent. However, that's a gamble, and just because you've been given a "not guilty" doesn't mean the effects won't follow you for the rest of your life.
Reddit user, u/danbrownskin, wanted to hear about the times when it wasn't you, seriously, it was someone else, when they asked: