Medical Center Allows Santa Claus Back on Job

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Santa Claus is returning to work at the University of South Carolina's Hollings Cancer Center in Charleston, S.C., after the hospital reversed itself over a question about its state affiliation.

Hospital volunteer Frank Cloyes had spent one day at the medical center as St. Nick, spreading good cheer and handing out snacks to patients sitting through chemotherapy treatments.

Cloyes, a retired insurance executive, had portrayed the red-suited Claus over the last two years. He even paid for his own costume rental.

However, hospital officials recently asked the jolly old elf to hang up his hat, according to the Charleston Post and Courier.

They argued that people from all faiths come to the center, not just those who celebrate Christmas. Some had also questioned the center's state affiliation and whether allowing Santa would be viewed as promoting one religion over another.

But a passionate response from the public and patients caused hospital officials to change their minds, according a spokesperson for the hospital

Now, Santa will be allowed to stay.

"We've received a number of strong responses to the Santa story, and it prompted another discussion on our end," Hollings spokeswoman Vicky Agnew said in a statement. "As a result, we've decided to allow a Santa presence this year."

Cloyes told the newspaper he characterized the reversal as a coup.

"It's a chink in the armor of political correctness," he said.

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