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Maybe it's time to take the "Elf on the Shelf" narrative down a few notches, if not off the shelf entirely.
After knocking an elf doll to the floor with the toss of a ball, 7-year-old Isabella LaPeruta recently called 911 because she worried Santa Claus wouldn't visit her house this Christmas. After all, according to the corresponding children's tale, touching the elf means the magic of Christmas goes away.
"[I thought] it was an emergency," Isabella told Brian Thompson, a reporter for NBC News' New York affiliate. "I was very nervous."
After Isabella introduced herself to a 911 operator, the operator replied, "Hi, Isabella. Why are you calling 911?"
Perhaps that's when the New Jersey girl realized Santa might not be her only concern. "Don't come to my house!" she shouted. "Don't!"
For precautionary reasons, an officer from the nearby Old Bridge Police Department showed up to make sure Isabella wasn't in real danger. When the responding officer found Isabella in tears and realized what had happened, he radioed back to headquarters: "Isabella apologized. She touched the Elf on a Shelf. She won't call 911 again."
Old Bridge Police Lt. Joseph Mandola said his department understood. "In her mind, she did right, and it was fine with us," he added.
Isabella's mom, Lynanne, reportedly was sleeping when her daughter dialed 911. Lynanne told Thompson that her daughter learned her lesson. "I think she knows not to call 911 unless it's a real emergency," she said, reinforcing that an Elf of the Shelf's tumble "is not an emergency."
Even before Christmas arrived, Isabella got a visit from a local Santa Claus, proving that the children's book warning was more the stuff of legend than a reality.
"[Santa] gave me another chance," Isabella was happy to report.
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