A man has been accused of what amounts to cruelty to children, after he informed his young son that there was no such person as Santa Claus.
Dave Benson, 31, from Cleveland, Ohio - which, being both 220 miles in length, and 220 miles wide, should be a square, but isn't - told 6-year-old Ben that 'the man with the toys' existed only in the little lad's imagination, and that he should "grow up".
The incident happened on Tuesday when Ben told his daddy about a new game that his friend had been bought by his parents, one that Ben, himself, might get for Christmas, if he wrote a nice letter to Santa. Dad, aware of the implications this might have for his already-precarious financial situation, first employed the 'softly-softly' approach. Dave:
"I said that we sometimes have to accept that we can't have everything we want, and that we should be very grateful for whatever Santa Claus decides to bring us."
But Ben wasn't happy with this. Dave again:
"He frowned, and told me his friend had it, and, if Santa was worth his salt, he would bring Ben one, too. The discussion went on for a long time. I was physically and mentally exhausted. I could take no more - I had to tell him."
Dave wasn't keen on providing details of exactly how he broke the news to Ben, but we can assume the boy didn't take it well. Ben's mom, Elaine, was outraged:
"Fancy telling him that! He's only six! He could have let it go. It's only May - Ben will have changed his mind ten times by the time writing his letter to Santa arrives."
Dave, looking sheepish, mumbled:
"We've saved him the bother, now."
Elaine, livid, bawled: