Not all heroes wear capes. Some heroes wear stocking caps and red suits and fake beards, and live in grottos, and scream at children to “get the fuck out” when a fire alarm goes off, because the only correct course of action in that scenario is, indeed, to “get the fuck out.”
According to CNN, however, one heroic Santa Claus in St. Ives, Cambridgeshire, England has been unjustly criticized for tearing off his hat and beard when a fire alarm went off at the annual Father Christmas Grotto Experience on Sunday, and screaming, “Get the fuck out!” — although, as we have already established, that is the appropriate thing to scream in such a scenario.
“He came changing [sic] in, ripped his hat and beard off in front of 50 odd kids and started shouting and swearing at people to leave,” one angry parent wrote in a Facebook post. “You should be ashamed of yourself acting like that in front of children. There is no way he should be allowed near a child.”
Another mother told Cambridgeshire Live, “We told our children he wasn’t the real Santa. He was an imposter and will be going on the naughty list.”
But what is naughty about fire safety, I ask? Okay, yes — the alarm technically went off at a “nearby but unconnected event,” and yes, “parents and children were already evacuating” when “Santa Claus tore into the room and started causing havoc.” Santa’s heart was clearly in the right place though, (panicked; scared for children; scared for his flammable beard). (Another question I would ask is: Does Santa live in a grotto? But that is a question for another day.)
What’s more, the fire alarm was triggered by the smoke machines at a “family-friendly rave” taking place in the same building, an event which sounds extremely distressing, and arguably the whole place should have been evacuated far sooner.
Festival St. Ives (FESt), the local non-profit group that organized the event, has since apologized on their website “for any offence or distress caused to parents and children by the attempts to ensure all visitors and staff had exited the building and were safe.”
“Santa was upstairs in his grotto, an event organised by Festival Events St Ives (a voluntary organisation) and immediately assisted in the evacuation of the building.”
Thank you to this local hero. May he be as happy in his grotto as Hef was in his.