This Saturday, a man resembling Santa Claus, was asked to leave a Six Flags Over Texas amusement park.
Jerry Henderson walks at the park every weekend for exercise. He has done this for three years with no incident up until now.
Henderson, of Burleson, Texas, who has maintained his Santa resemblance for over 20 years said, “This ain’t a costume.”
During the holiday season Henderson dons the same Christmas-themed vest and hat every day. “I go to Walmart like this. This is me. I enjoy making kids smile,” he said.
Henderson said he got in trouble after a woman asked him to pose for a picture with her children.
“Knelt down, put my arms around them, and afterward I reached in my wife’s walker, pulled out two candy canes, handed it to them,” Henderson recalled.
He said that was when he was approached by park security and asked to leave the premises.
CBS Local reported that Henderson recounted the interaction saying,” ‘We’re gonna have to ask you to leave.’ I said, ‘For what reason?’ He said, ‘You look too much like Santa Claus.’ And I’m like, ‘Are you kidding me?’” he recalled. “I do not approach kids. The parents come to me.”
Henderson said he offered to remove his hat and no longer hand out candy, but said that the park manager informed him he would also have to get rid of his beard in order to stay.
“Not for you, Six Flags, or anybody else, am I shaving my beard off,” he said.
Six Flags released this statement on the matter:
“We apologize that Mr. Henderson was inconvenienced, but the safety of our guests is always our highest priority. We cannot knowingly allow individuals who are not approved by the park to interact with small children in this capacity. Mr Henderson was handing out candy to our younger guests and was dressed up as Santa which is in violation of our No Costume policy. When asked to change he refused and at that point was asked to leave.”
Henderson requested a refund from Six Flags for his season pass, but has yet to hear back.
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