Call it “Miraculous Stupidity On Six Flags’ Street.” I’m sure I could come up with something more clever if my brains weren’t splattered on the walls and ceiling.
Jerry Henderson and his wife visit Six Flags Over Texas almost every weekend to walk the park for exercise. Jerry has white hair,a long white beard, and a little round belly that shakes when he laughs like a bowl full of jelly. Around this time of year, he wears a red vest and a Santa hat.
“This ain’t a costume,” says Henderson. “I go to Walmart like this. This is me,” he said. “I enjoy making kids smile.” He’s looked like Santa Claus for almost 20 years . On this visit to the theme park, 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. The kids were thrilled.
Jerry was then confronted by park security, who ordered him to leave the park. “For what reason? Jerry asked. The stupid answer was, “You look too much like Santa Claus.”
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 says he offered to take off his Santa hat and never hand out another candy cane, but was told that he had to shave off his beard too. Be still my rumbling head. Henderson never approaches children, but will respond to requests from their parents. “I do not approach kids. The parents come to me,” Jerry insists. Ah, but you can’t give kids a Christmas thrill without pre-certification, or something.
Ah, if only Jerry really was Santa Claus! That would make Six Flags feel awfully silly.
Or maybe he is….!