Fired Santa gets nice offer from Lefty O'Douls

December 6, 2010 12:00:00 AM PST
A longtime Santa Claus at Macy's in San Francisco Union Square is not feeling so jolly. He was fired for telling a joke. But Santa may soon be saying his "Ho, ho, ho's" in another, more welcoming, place.

Macy's fired 28-year veteran John Toomey on Saturday when an adult couple complained to the store that he had cracked an off-color joke. According to Toomey, he asked the couple, one of whom was sitting on his knee, if they were good this year. He says they replied, "Yes." "Well, that's too bad," he answered. Then he said, "Do you know why I'm so jolly all the time? That's because I know where the naughty boys and girls live."

Toomey says he has been telling the jokes for years, only to adults, and has never had an issue with it.

Tuesday, Lefty O'Douls owner Nick Bovis asked Toomey if he would like to spread his holiday cheer at the venerable Union Square restaurant and bar.

"You'll get twice the salary, a specially built Santa's chair and all the breaks you want, not to mention all the food and drinks you want," Bovis told him at a meeting arranged by ABC7 News in Toomey's hotel on Market Street.

Toomey thanked the restaurateur and said he would definitely consider it. He says he's overwhelmed by all the support he's received since the story of the firing broke Monday.

Toomey's phone has been ringing off the hook. One call he placed himself on Monday was to the San Francisco Human Rights Commission. He plans to meet with officials there to discuss the complaint he filed soon after he was fired.

Macy's told us they would have no comment because it's a personnel issue.

No one ABC7 spoke with in front of Macy's thought the joke was inappropriate.


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