Officials at Broad Street Mall in Reading, England say that Santa Claus chose to dangle from the ceiling on Saturday for at least 30 minutes instead of disappointing hundreds of children by removing his beard after his whiskers got stuck in a rappelling accident.
British Army soldier Steve Chessell had been commissioned to play the part of Santa and rappel through a mall skylight during the annual Christmas-lights switch-on show when things went horribly wrong, according to The Reading Chronicle.
“He could have just taken his beard off and let himself down but he was such a professional and he didn’t want to let the children down,” Broad Street Mall marketing manager Stephanie Maynard told the BBC. “He lost his footing as he came through the hole in the ceiling and there was a sudden jolt and he got caught in the clip on the rope.”
“Some people were absolutely mortified while others thought it was the funniest thing ever.”
Chessell was eventually rescued by fellow soldier Marc Hilton.
“Usually after the lights switch-on the centre empties but there were so many people still there waiting to see if Father Christmas was going to get down,” Maynard said.
Just last year, Santa got stuck while descending from the ceiling at a mall in Palm Beach Gardens, Florida.
Watch this video, uploaded to YouTube on Nov. 19, 2012.