Boy with autism refused visit with Santa due to service dog gets special Christmas surprise

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BROWNSBURG, Ind. (WJW) — Santa made a special surprise visit to a boy in Indiana after he was turned away because of his service dog.

According to WISH, Tyler Burkhart’s parents say he was refused a visit with a different Santa Claus over the weekend and they have since been trying to bring the magic back to Christmas.

Tyler, 8, has autism and holiday lights and sounds are often too much for him.  His family thought visiting Santa might be better for him this year because he would be accompanied by his service dog, a golden retriever named Ryan.

However, after standing in a long line Saturday night, Tyler was refused a visit with the man they call "Bad Santa" because Ryan may have caused issues for other children with allergies.

After that incident, Tyler's parents say he was worried that Santa might not visit the home.

“The damage had already been done at that point. You had a very crushed child,” Tyler’s mother, Alyssa Burkhart, told WISH.

But, all that changed on Christmas Eve. Brownsburg Fire Territory heard about the incident and offered to bring Santa by the Burkhart's residence.

The firefighters brought Santa to visit Tyler in a big, red fire engine.

Tyler spent quality time with Santa and even got to honk the fire engine's horn and spray the hose down the street.

Santa also gave him a toy red fire truck.

The Burkharts say the holiday magic is back and they are very grateful for the firefighters' generosity.

Every year the Brownsburg Fire Territory takes Santa Claus on a tour of the community but he doesn't do personal appearances. This will definitely be something Tyler never forgets.

Meanwhile, Alyssa Burkart says the "Bad Santa" broke the law by banning the service animal from the establishment. He has reached out to officials at that location and is waiting for a response.

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