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Guard Loses Job After Santa’s Gift

January 9, 2002

KANSAS CITY, Mo. (AP) _ Secret Santa’s gift may have backfired.

A security guard at Macy’s flagship store at New York City’s 34th Street lost his job shortly after receiving $100 from ``Secret Santa,″ a Kansas City-area businessman who hands out cash anonymously at Christmas.

James Frazier, 19, was working when Secret Santa approached him and asked whether he had a family. Frazier said yes, he had a new baby at home.

Secret Santa handed Frazier the money, which he used to buy clothes for his infant son.

But Macy’s officials read about the encounter in USA Today, and Frazier soon lost his job.

Macy’s spokesman Ronnie Taffet said Frazier wasn’t let go because of the gift. Frazier was hired as a temporary seasonal employee, and his term of employment had expired, Taffet said.

However, Frazier did violate company policies by accepting a gratuity while on the job and by speaking to the media, Taffet said.

Taffet said Frazier’s personnel file shows he filled out an application for a seasonal job and that he signed the store’s employment policies.

``For whatever reason, he was a bit confused,″ about why he lost his job, Taffet said.

Word of Frazier’s situation reached Secret Santa, who told The Kansas City Star he spoke to Frazier by telephone Monday. The newspaper did not identify the Secret Santa.

``I’m not sure what to think,″ Secret Santa said. ``He understood he was on a 90-day probation to be a permanent security guard.″

Frazier’s home telephone number could not be verified Wednesday.

Secret Santa intends to give Frazier $1,000 to help with bills but wants to remain anonymous.

``I’ve got to figure this out,″ he told the Star. ``I can’t send him a check.″

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