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St. James mom: Smith Haven Mall Santa said no to photo with disabled kids

A St. James mother says she and her severely disabled children encountered a scrooge-like Santa at a local mall. Lori Burke visited the Smith Haven Mall on Tuesday with her wheelchair-bound children

News 12 Staff

Dec 6, 2013, 4:10 AM

Updated 3,847 days ago

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A St. James mother says she and her severely disabled children encountered a scrooge-like Santa at a local mall.

Lori Burke visited the Smith Haven Mall on Tuesday with her wheelchair-bound children and attempted to take a picture with Santa. Burke says she noticed the Santa booth was empty, and saw a sign indicating not to take pictures without buying a package. However, she asked Santa anyway.

"He got up, walked in between the kids and over to the cash register area and said you can take a picture of the scene," says Burke.

Burke says the Santa did finally sit for a snapshot with her kids, but she posted her experience on the Smith Haven Mall's Facebook page. The mall allegedly deleted her post and put her in touch with the Colorado company that coordinates Santa's schedule.

The company told Burke it has a very soft policy that allows people to take pictures on their own.

"We were told when they were born that they wouldn't live past two," Burke says about her children. "Every day is a gift and that's how we treat it. And that's how Santa should treat it, too."

A spokeswoman from the Colorado company told News 12 that the Burke family has been invited back to take real pictures with Santa.



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