'Tis the season for giving and good cheer -- but it looks like one shopping mall Santa and his not-so-friendly little helper may have missed that memo.
Abcde Santos, 7, who has been diagnosed with autism, was at the shops in Mission Viejo, California, last Sunday when she was told she couldn't take a picture with the shopping center's Santa Claus.
Santos stood in line for 30 minutes with her pit bull service dog, Pup-Cake, when she was shooed away because of Santa's fear of pit bulls.
And according to Pup-Cake's Facebook page, Santa still refused to take the picture even after the furry creature was taken away.
The retail center's property management staff and Santa's employers quickly took matters into their own hands-- firing Father Claus and his elf. They also released a statement on Facebook that said:
"We look forward to welcoming back the Santos family and Pup-Cake for a special Santa experience."
The Santos family applauded the mall for its prompt reply, and issued a statement on Facebook:
"The Santos family's goal is always equality education and their offer to provide Americans with Disabilities Act training still stands. Santa and the elf have subsequently been fired. We are thankful that they reached out to us as soon as they learned of the incident and this was handled in a swift and appropriate manner."
Sadly, this isn't the first time service dogs have been rejected at retail locations. A Boston Marathon bombing survivor was forced out of TJ Maxx after walking in with her dog, and another girl who was also diagnosed with autism was denied entry at a Canada store twice.