Dad's fury after son, 3, turned away from Santa's Grotto because he wasn't on Father Christmas' list

Dad's fury after son, 3, turned away from Santa's Grotto because he wasn't on Father Christmas' list

Daniel Terry, 29, said three-year-old Oliver was left "upset and emotional" after their wasted trip to Dobbies Garden World, near Cannock, Staffordshire.

The pair had queued up for at least 30 minutes on Saturday so the excited youngster could sit on Father Christmas' lap and hand him his letter.

But once they reached the front of the line, Daniel was told he should have pre-booked their visit online.

Staff wouldn't even pass on Oliver's handwritten letter, or allow him to book another visit at the time.

He told StokeSentinel: "Oliver got upset and emotional when he was told he couldn't see Father Christmas and he was holding his letter to Santa. Seeing that broke my heart and left me disgusted.

"I accept that we should have booked online and that was our mistake. But this should have been made clearer."

In a bid to cheer his son up, Daniel took Oliver to Fletcher's Garden Centre in Eccleshall, more than 20 miles away.

Oliver enjoyed a Christmas-themed train ride, spoke to Father Christmas and got a selection box.

Dobbies Garden World have apologised for the incident and have offered to give Oliver a special meeting with Santa.

General manager Michelle Stretton said: “We’re so sorry to hear that one of our customers has had such a disappointing experience with us at the weekend.

"I would welcome the customer contacting me directly so we can make it up to the little boy and his father – we’d gladly arrange a special tea with Santa to make sure the little boy has a lovely Christmas experience.

“We work tirelessly to try to make sure every single child and their families have a truly magical experience when visiting Santa.

“Our grotto was, unfortunately, fully booked over the weekend. We make it clear in all of our customer communications and on our website that advance booking is recommended and have now ensured it is on all grotto pages.

"In saying that, our staff did whatever they could to squeeze in walk-ins over the weekend, or we’d normally always try to book customers in for a slot on an alternative date, as we want to try to give every child a fantastic Santa experience."

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