Santa's Got a Brand New Bag

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john toomeyDon't worry kids! Just because Santa got fired from Macy's doesn't mean he won't be around to hear your wishes. He just picked up his elves and moved down the street.

In what's being called "The Miracle on Geary St.," John Toomey, aka "Santa John," who was fired from Macy's last week for telling a slightly naughty joke, is now holding court every day at Lefty O'Doul's restaurant. It's less than a block away from San Francisco's Union Square Macy's, where an adult couple who sat on his lap complained to HR that Toomey was trying to make them have a blue Christmas. The man who had been Macy's go-to Santa for 20 years was promptly notified that his "services were no longer needed."

All this for joking that Santa is so jolly because he knows where all the bad boys and girls live. He's been telling that one to adults for decades, with nary a complaint.

The 68-year-old retiree was not out of work for long. On Friday Toomey began appearing on a specially constructed North Pole Winter Wonderland stage at Lefty's, from 3PM to 8PM until Christmas Eve. And he's reported to be making twice as much as he did at his former employer's.

But he did take a few days off in the meantime to fly down to Los Angeles and appear on Jay Leno's show, where his racy jokes were more welcome. He sauntered on stage in full Santa attire, and when Leno asked him if he could give the audience a big Santa "ho, ho, ho," Toomey told him he couldn't, because that was no longer politically correct.

"Now it's working girl, working girl, working girl," Toomey joked. He also told Leno that while he couldn't tell the audience what he was bringing all the good boys and girls for Christmas, he could bet it wouldn't be a gift certificate from Macy's.

But his best and perhaps most adult joke of the night came when Leno asked him, "...You fly all over the world on Christmas night, have you ever had any trouble with the TSA patting you down?"

"Oh no," Toomey responded. I tell them 'don't touch my sack or I'll have you arrested.'"




At Lefty's Santa will be receiving gifts rather than giving them out. He's helping collect 10,000 toys for the 10th anniversary of the Firefighters Toy Program. In addition to twice his salary at Macy's, he gets all the breaks, food and drink he wants, and he is encouraged to tell jokes. Toomey emphasizes that he never makes inappropriate comments to the kiddies.

So how does Macy's feel about the hubbub? The department store recently released a statement saying, "Mr. Toomey has moved on, and so has Macy's." The store is now focusing on its Make-a-Wish foundation donation campaign.

And Santa harbors no grudges. When ABC news reporter Don Sanchez asked Santa what he wanted for Christmas, Santa responded, "I'd be more than happy if the economy turned around." Now that's the Christmas spirit!

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