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BURLESON (CBS11) – A Burleson man resembling Santa Claus ended up on Six Flags’ naughty list on Saturday. Jerry Henderson got in trouble for looking like Santa and handing out candy to kids at the theme park.
Jerry Henderson and his wife visit Six Flags Over Texas almost every weekend and walk the park for exercise. He told CBS11 his routine has been going on for three years and he’d never had a problem until now.
“This ain’t a costume,” insisted Henderson, who for almost 20 years has maintained a resemblance to Santa. During the holiday season, Henderson wears the same Christmas-themed vest and hat every day.
“I go to Walmart like this. This is me,” he said. “I enjoy making kids smile,” he said.
Henderson got in trouble after he says 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,” recalled Henderson.
He said he was then approached by park security.
“’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.”
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 said he never approaches children, but responds to requests from their parents.
He also said he offered to take off the hat and stop giving away candy, but he claims a park manager told him he’d have to lose the beard.
“Not for you, Six Flags, or anybody else, am I shaving my beard off,” he said.
Henderson requested a refund from Six Flags for his season pass, but has yet to hear back.
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