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Couple kicked out of malls over Christmas costumes

Posted at 9:50 PM, Dec 05, 2013
and last updated 2013-12-05 21:50:43-05

NASHVILLE, Tenn. (WSMV) — A couple that was trying to get people in the holiday spirit on Black Friday wound up getting a lump of coal instead. The two were kicked out a couple of Nashville-area malls for what they wore: Christmas costumes.

David and Bette Carter say they’ve been dressing up to spread holiday cheer for 10 years now.

“The shop owners, they loved us. They wanted us to stay and bring the people in,” David Carter said.

“And the shoe store, they said, ‘Can’t you stay a little longer?’” Bette Carter said.

But their little Secret Santa shopping spree for a granddaughter was cut short at Opry Mills Mall.

“As we were walking through the mall, some young woman who was security there asked us to leave,” Bette Carter said.

The same thing then happened at Rivergate Mall.

In a letter Bette Carter sent to both malls, she writes that security insisted they leave the premises because they were interfering with the mall Santa.

“No beard, no belly, no belt, no boots, no bag,” David Carter said.

The two say they were only having fun with the crowds as they shopped.

“Just ‘Merry Christmas’ and stuff like that. Nothing offensive or anything,” David Carter said.

The general manager at Opry Mills did respond in a statement: “We regret that we did not handle this correctly, knowing that they were just embracing the holiday season as we do. As valued shoppers, we hope they will accept our apology and an invitation to return to Opry Mills soon.”

A spokesperson for Rivergate Mall declined to make a statement.

“I will never go back to a mall,” Bette Carter said.

But that doesn’t mean they’ve lost the Christmas spirit.