Jump to content

"Phoney" santa "sacked" for making a call in front of kids!!


Recommended Posts

Ho ho hello: Shopping centre Santa sacked for taking a call on his mobile in front of children


By Daily Mail Reporter

Last updated at 12:00 AM on 08th December 2008



On their magical annual visit to his grotto, children expect to find Santa ready with a cheery greeting, a booming laugh and a neatly-wrapped gift.


They certainly don’t expect him to be on his mobile phone to the JobCentre.


Which is why 53-year-old Mike O’Donagh was told to hand back his robes and beard and leave the shopping centre in disgrace.


article-0-02BA9F69000005DC-122_468x314.jpg Mike O'Donagh, pictured with his phone, was sacked because he answered a call from Jobcentre about his benefits

Mr O’Donagh, who has played Santa on many occasions, began work at the Chelmsley Wood shopping centre in Birmingham last month.


He appeared at the switch-on of the city’s festive lights and took part in a parade alongside reindeer, elves, snowmen and other Christmas characters.


But, back at the grotto, his phone rang just as he was posing for a picture with an excited youngster.


The father of two insisted last night: ‘I had to answer it because I needed to sort out my benefit payments while I was working as Santa.


‘I told the kiddies not to worry because it was a call from Lapland about their toys, and that everything would be OK.


‘The children seemed to be fine with it, but not my employers.


‘I only found out I was sacked when I turned up at work the following day and was told I was no longer needed. So much for the spirit of Christmas.’


article-0-02BA9F1F000005DC-919_233x423.jpg Before he was sacked: Mike as Santa


Jim Sherwin, managing director of Leeds-based employment agency NIDD, defended his company’s actions.


He said: ‘We were told there had been a number of occasions on which Mr O’Donagh answered his phone or was late, and we were not happy with the level of service he was providing.


‘We wanted to ensure we got the position filled with someone who could do the job properly.


‘We were well within our rights to let him go.’


But Mr O’Donagh, from Moseley, Birmingham, said: ‘I can’t believe how Scrooge-like they’ve been.


‘I told the JobCentre about being Santa because I was trying to do everything by the book. With all the benefits cheats out there, you might have thought they would have given me a break.


‘I loved being Santa and working with the children because it is such a magical time of year.’


Last month, Santa Andrew Mondia, 32, was sacked by Selfridges in London because he asked a woman to sit on his lap.


Store bosses said their Santas must certainly not ‘promote or proactively seek’ anyone to do so.







Mr Mondia, who said his one-day training had been ‘a bit rushed’, protested: ‘I was just being my innocent usual self.


‘I was shocked when they told me – I couldn’t believe I’d been sacked for being too friendly.’

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Create an account or sign in to comment

You need to be a member in order to leave a comment

Create an account

Sign up for a new account in our community. It's easy!

Register a new account

Sign in

Already have an account? Sign in here.

Sign In Now
  • Create New...