A furious mum demanded a refund after a ‘homeless’ looking Santa volunteer, who didn’t even say ‘ho ho ho’, left her young niece convinced Father Christmas isn't real.
Melissa Evans has shamed Telford Steam Railway's Polar Express train ride for ‘ripping people off and putting on a very shoddy show’ after she forked out £135 for tickets.
The 35-year-old shared a photo of the Father Christmas, along with a scathing review of the ‘disappointing’ experience which she attend with her partner, 9-month-old daughter, four-year-old step-daughter, and seven-year-old niece, on November 28.
Many people supported Melissa’s complaint, but others branded her a ‘self-entitled Karen’.
Melissa, from Cannock, Staffordshire, said: "There was no character of Santa, there was no 'ho, ho, ho', he literally just walked on and said 'hi' – he didn't interact with the kids.
"I don't want to say it because it's nasty but he just looked like a homeless guy had got on the train. He just wasn't in character, there was nothing magical about it.
"As soon as he walked off my seven-year-old said 'that is not Santa' […] she's saying ‘Santa's not real' because the Santa was that bad.
"Then was telling my four-year-old niece 'Santa's not real', which was really hard because I didn't want to say 'you can't say that because she's only little' because I still want her to believe as well, she's only seven.
"Some of my friends sent me pictures of the Santa from their Polar Express and it's what you'd expect Santa to look like – a million miles away from what we got."
The railway advertises the experience as 'an immersive re-creation inspired by the iconic 2004 Polar Express film' where customers can 'embrace the spirit of Christmas on their wonder-filled trip' and 'take home lasting memories of a magical experience'.
Melissa said: "When we got there it was absolutely throwing it down with snow and freezing and they'd put two little marques up that you'd probably use in the summer because they didn't have any sides to them.
"There were busloads of people turning and nowhere for them to go and there weren't really any staff around so we were just stood around not having a clue what was going on.
"We got taken down to where the train was on the platform and I've got to say that part was magical – not all of it was dire – there was fake snow and the train was amazing.”
Some other parents supported Melissa, saying they too were disappointed.
One said: "I'm so glad I'm not the only person to say this! I was mortified!! My 3-year-old son was even sceptical and that's saying something!!!"
Another said: "I felt exactly the same, I've emailed as well. We paid nearly £200 for 4 tickets, feeling ripped off."
Meanwhile, others slammed her as 'entitled' and 'rotten'.
One said: "What a bunch of self-entitled Karen's [whinging] about how Santa should look in their eyes – kids probs had a good time anyway but Karen's pd off because Santa's beard wasn't the correct length – get a f*g life."
Another said: "If you're making a formal complaint why post here. Bit of a rotten move posting this man's pic on social media and bagging him out like this."
Telford Steam Railway responded to Melissa's complaint on social media and wrote: "We have strengthened our customer service team and all open enquiries are being dealt with by our volunteers as quickly as possible.
"We thank you for any constructive feedback and we appreciate your patience and will liaise with any dissatisfied customers directly via private message or email."
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