Store Santa says family was happy with Christmas picture - NBC12 - WWBT - Richmond, VA News On Your Side

Store Santa says family was happy with Christmas picture

SAN ANTONIO, TX (WWBT) -

The family of a 13-month-old baby with a genetic brain and muscle disorder has received a formal apology from Bass Pro Shops, days after the family said their store Santa refused to be photographed holding their son on his lap.

This happened Friday afternoon at Bass Pro Shops in San Antonio. Megan Self said she unhooked her son Caleb from his breathing apparatus and other medical equipment, after waiting in line for a free picture with Santa Claus. Self admits Santa was willing to take a pic with Caleb, but only standing, so he could quickly hand off the child, to its parents. Caleb has been diagnosed with Mitochondrial Encephalomyopathy.

The genetic development disorder causes Caleb's muscles to weaken. An MRI this summer revealed Caleb's brain has begun to shrink as well.

According to Self, Caleb has been hospitalized 11 times since March. Despite his repeated medical setbacks, Caleb's family wanted him to experience sitting on Santa's lap.

"We were trying to work with them so we can get that memory, get the picture of him on his lap and everything," added Self.

However, the Santa in the photo, Glenn Burkett, took to Facebook saying the baby was in a wheelchair and on a ventilator. He says they unhooked the child from the vent and placed him in my arms with a plastic tube in his throat. He said he was stunned, but he walked in front of the camera and cradled the baby in his arms. He said the family approved of the picture initially and didn't ask for retakes.

Bass Pro Shops said in statement Monday, "This is not something we feel great about." According to the company, Santa Claus, his elves and store employees take part in sensitivity training before each holiday season. Bass Pro Shops did confirm, however, that Burkett's job was never in jeopardy.

The company offered the Self family a gift certificate and a one-on-one photo session for Caleb and Santa. Self declined the offer, and instead suggested Bass Pro Shops donate the money to the United Mitochondrial Disease Foundation.

Copyright 2015 WWBT NBC12. All rights reserved.

Report an Error or Submit a Tip to NBC12

Powered by Frankly