A little boy who was left in tears when a ‘woke’ mall Santa denied his request for a Nerf gun has gone viral yet again after appearing in a promo video for the NRA alongside his parents.
Michael DeCarlo, four, from Illinois received an outpouring of support from around the world after his mother Sabella shared a video of him sobbing in response to a mall Santa’s refusal to deliver him a toy gun for Christmas.
The clip quickly went viral on social media – where it also earned the attention of the National Rifle Association, which stepped in to ‘fix’ the problem by sending its own Kris Kringle to Michael’s home, along with a host of Nerf guns in different shapes and sizes, and the offer of a lifetime membership.
Surprise: A little boy who was left in tears when a ‘woke’ mall Santa refused his request from a Nerf gun received a delivery of the toys from the NRA’s own Father Christmas
Spreading cheer? Michael DeCarlo, four, is seen in a promo video shared by the NRA, in which he is gifted a range of Nerf guns in all different shapes and sizes
Gift: The NRA also gave Michael, from Illinois, a lifetime membership to the organization
Devastated: The little boy broke hearts across the internet after his mother Sabella shared a video of him sobbing at the Harlem Irving Plaza in Norridge
However, while some have praised the move by the National Rifle Association, others have hit out at the organization, branding the video of the surprise delivery ‘wrong’ and accusing the group of using Michael and his family for ‘propaganda’.
In the clip, which was shared on the group’s official Twitter account, the young boy can be seen telling the cameras: ‘Mean Santa didn’t want to give me a Nerf gun for Christmas.’
The clip then shows the NRA’s Santa arriving at the DeCarlos’ home along with a sack filled with different toy guns. He is greeted by Michael, who is wearing a full camo outfit, with a big hug at the door – before the little boy is given a chance to open the multitude of NRA-branded gifts that Saint Nick left under his tree.
He eagerly tears into the packages, pulling out several different Nerf guns, as well as a mini NRA vest that has a patch reading ‘life member’ on the breast.
Michael then challenges Santa to ‘a Nerf war’, and the two proceed to run around the DeCarlos’ house firing the toy guns at one another – but not before the youngster tells the camera: ‘Mean Santa won’t be happy I have this.’
After Santa has been defeated in his Nerf gun fight, he is seen leaving the property, saying on his way out: ‘The North Pole doesn’t need any commies.’
Debate: Reaction to the video has been mixed, with some praising the NRA’s surprise as ‘amazing’ and ‘awesome’ while others have called the clip ‘wrong’ and ‘creepy’
Delighted: Michael seemed thrilled with his gifts, and was heard exclaiming, ‘Cool!’ as he opened the different toy guns
Excitement: In the clip, Michael is seen wearing a full camo outfit while tearing into the festive packages left for him under the tree
Battle: The little boy then challenges Santa to a ‘Nerf war’ and the two run around the DeCarlos’ house firing the toy guns at one another
As part of the promo video, Michael’s parents, Sabella and Michael, also sat down to talk to the NRA, with his mother taking the chance to thank the ‘hundreds’ of people who reached out to send her son Nerf guns in the wake of her mall video going viral – while slamming the ‘woke’ Santa who denied her son’s request for the toy.
‘Santa’s job is to make kids believe in the magic of Christmas, not lecture us on politics,’ she said. ‘I’m so grateful for all of the people who sent Nerf guns to Michael.
‘Americans of all backgrounds came together and rallied for my son. We have received hundreds of Nerf guns, and Michael will be distributing those to other little patriots in need.’
His father – a police officer and lifetime member of the NRA – then praised the group for stepping in to offer support, saying: ‘I’m a police officer, NRA instructor, and a lifetime member of the National Rifle Association.
‘I gotta tell you, when the NRA reached out to us, we were shocked.
‘Fellow patriots, thank you for all that you do to protect our rights, and support us police officers. And NRA, thank you for making my family’s Christmas one we will never forget.
Christmas controversy? The video sparked furious debate online, where it racked up nearly half a million views in less than a day
Upset: In the clip, which was shared on the group’s official Twitter account, the young boy can be seen telling the cameras, ‘Mean Santa didn’t want to give me a Nerf gun for Christmas’
Extra: As well as the guns, Michael was also given a mini NRA vest, which had a ‘life member’ patch on the breast
Safety first: Michael put on a pair of protective goggles before kicking off his ‘Nerf war’ with the NRA’s Santa
‘And I’m proud to say Michael Jr. is now a lifetime member of the National Rifle Association of America.’
Statement: As he left the house, the Santa tells the camera, ‘The North Pole doesn’t need any commies’
After being posted on the NRA’s official Twitter account, the video quickly became the subject of fierce debate among other users, with some praising the move as ‘awesome’, while others blasted the clip as ‘propaganda’.
‘Amazing, and one of the reasons I have faith in humanity! Love me a good Nerf war with my grandkids!’ one person wrote, as another said: ‘Beautiful! My heart broke watching that sweet little boy cry like that.’
‘You guys are awesome!!! My husband just joined the NRA last week!!’ one user then chimed in.
A fourth added: ‘Beautiful! Thank you to the miserable mall Santa for making this little boy’s Christmas the best ever now!! Thank you @NRA. Mall Santa: hope you never work again!’
However not everyone was impressed with the clip, with several users insisting that it was ‘wrong’ for such a young boy to feature in a ‘propaganda’ video for the NRA.
Family: Michael’s mom Sabella and his police officer father Michael are also featured in the video, and the two praise the NRA and the ‘patriots’ who ‘protect our rights’
Tradition: Michael Snr., seen with his family, is a lifetime member of the NRA, and is also an instructor for the organization
Sharing: Sabella revealed that her son was sent ‘hundreds’ of Nerf guns after her original video went viral, and said Michael will be giving them out to ‘other little patriots in need’
‘Creating future school shooters one propaganda video at a time,’ one replied to the group’s tweet.
Another wrote: ‘You guys turned Santa into a terrorist…congrats!’
‘This is creepy as f***,’ one person said, as someone else commented: ‘This is wrong on so many levels.’
The NRA video comes almost a week after the video of Michael sobbing in the mall first went viral when his mother shared it on Facebook.
Michael broke hearts across the internet when Sabella shared the clip of him breaking down in tears when the Santa Claus at the Harlem Irving Plaza in Norridge bluntly turned down his request for a Nerf gun, telling the child he would bring ‘no guns — not even a Nerf gun’.
The December 6 clip caused furious controversy on social media — and prompted the Santa in question to resign from his job.
In the video, Michael sits down at a social distance from Santa, who is set up behind a Plexiglass barrier on the opposite side of a table.
Praise: Some Twitter users were quick to applaud the NRA’s video, describing it as ‘amazing’ and ‘beautiful’
Santa asks him, ‘What do you want for Christmas?’
The boy can’t says he doesn’t know, but after some more nudging from Santa, answers that he’d like a Nerf gun.
‘No, I — nope, no guns,’ Santa tells him.’
The boy’s mother jumps in to clarify that the boy is asking for a Nerf gun, but the Santa Claus continues to refuse.
‘No, not even a Nerf gun,’ he can be heard saying.
Santa continues: ‘If your dad wants to get it for you, that’s fine, but I can’t bring it to you. What else would you like? Lots of other toys. Legos. There’s bicycles. There’s cars and trucks. What do you think?’
The child bursts into tears and his mother once again intervenes to comfort her son.
Outrage: However others were enraged by the clip, with one person accusing the NRA of ‘turning Santa into a terrorist’
‘You’ll still get one,’ she reassures him.
A Nerf Blaster is a toy gun made by Hasbro that fires foam darts, discs, or foam balls.
DeCarlo later took to Facebook to condemn the Santa for telling her child ‘no’ due to his own ‘personal beliefs’.
‘My poor baby. This was the first year Michael was excited to go see Santa. It was supposed to be magical but instead I had to watch my sweet little boy fight back tears because Santa told him No because of his own personal beliefs,’ she wrote.
‘I had to think fast and explain to him that this Santa was just a helper and not the real guy.
‘I just wanted to console my baby and get him out of there, flipping out on Santa would have only made it worse. His Elfie is going to bring him a Nerf gun directly from the North Pole, from the real Santa, tonight.’
In a follow-up post, she added that ‘some of Michael’s Christmas magic was stolen from him today.’
Heartache: Michael received an outpouring of support after his mother shared a video of him crying when the Santa at their local mall told him he wouldn’t deliver guns to his house
Fury: Michael’s mom blasted the local mall on Facebook, complaining that the man let ‘his own personal beliefs’ steal her son’s ‘Christmas magic’
Harlem Irving Plaza later released a statement saying that this particular mall Santa no longer works there.
‘The HIP and our third-party Santa company are distraught and deeply apologetic about the unfortunate incident which occurred at Santa set on December 6, as both parties strive for families and their children to have a happy holiday experience,’ the statement said
‘Santa is heartbroken and crushed that he has made this child so sad and upset, and turned in his resignation.
‘The Santa company will continue to remind all Santa’s how important it is to not impose personal opinions during visits with the children.
‘HIP immediately contacted the family and worked with our Santa company in hopes of rectifying the situation.
‘We are happy to report that the ‘real’ Santa visited the boy at his home today to bring him a nerf gun! We hope we restored Christmas magic to this boy and his family with Santa’s special visit.’
The mall attempted to make amends for the incident by sending a far jollier Father Christmas to Michael’s home one day later, along with an enormous Nerf gun.
In a video shared by DeCarlo, the replacement Santa is seen arriving at the family’s front door, which Michael rushes to open after being prompted by his mother.
Making amends: The mall where Michael met the ‘woke’ Santa sent another Kris Kringle to his home with a Nerf gun days after the incident occurred
Making amends: Michael was stunned to find Santa at his door
Woah! The little boy was given the Nerf Ultra Pharaoh Blaster, one of the biggest models made by the brand, which has a similar shape to a sniper rifle
‘How are you?’ Santa asks the youngster, before saying: ‘So there was a mistake made yesterday, huh? Well we’re so sorry, okay?’
The jolly man in red then asks to come in, bringing a very large wrapped gift with him, which he then hands over to a delighted — and rather surprised — Michael.
‘This is big!’ the youngster exclaims while taking the present.
‘I heard about this up at the North Pole, and I rushed down here’ Santa then explains, as the little boy tears into the gift, yelling: ‘This is crazy! This is crazy this thing!’
‘It’s just a Nerf gun,’ Kris Kringle replies, as Michael opens up his Nerf Ultra Pharaoh Blaster, one of the biggest models made by the brand, which has a similar shape to a sniper rifle.
Clearly delighted with his gift, the little boy tells Santa, ‘thanks’, before proceeding to tear into the box, prompting a jolly chuckle from Mr. Claus.
The video was met with high praise on YouTube, with viewers calling Michael ‘brave’ for agreeing to chat with another Santa after his unhappy mall encounter.
‘That little boy is so brave for letting Santa in the house after what happened,’ one person wrote.
End of the line: The mall Santa resigned after the incident, with the mall revealing, ‘Santa is heartbroken… that he has made this child so sad and upset, and turned in his resignation’
Social media commenters blasted the mall Santa after Sabella’s video went viral
‘If I was that kid I’d be terrified and too shy and embarrassed to let Santa back in. You can see he’s very quiet and focused in the toy and not on Santa and keeping his head down… he’s probably feeling a little intimidated trying to shut everything around him out so glad he got his toy it will be okay.’
Another added: ‘Great to see the boy happy again especially after what happened to him.’
‘A Santa who scolds a child for requesting a Nerf gun is a Santa who deserves a firm a**-kicking from dad,’ wrote one.
‘Props to mom. I would have snatched his beard off,’ tweeted another.
‘This is hohohorrible!! How dare Santa jump on the no gun bandwagon,’ complained one more.
Several have decried the mall Santa for pushing ‘liberal,’ ‘woke,’ and ‘politically correct’ ideals, with one writing: ‘#WokeSanta needs coal in their stockings making that boy cry. Thankfully, a real Santa made the situation right.’
Others who identify as liberal say that this isn’t representative of liberal values — and they, too, are unimpressed with Santa’s behavior.
‘I’m very liberal and my kid has a solid stockpile of nerf guns and ammo. This Santa approached this completely wrong. And has no business being a Santa with his garbage,’ wrote a Facebook commenter.