LAKEWOOD — Following a brief holiday hiccup, Gerald Sayre and his colorful ride will be out wishing local residents a Merry Christmas this year.
Officers with the Lakewood-Busti Police Department recently stopped Sayre due to the flashing lights that decorate his beloved PT Cruiser that he has decked out with a brilliant display that includes a sound system that plays “Santa Claus is Coming to Town.”
However, after a discussion with Christopher DePonceau, chief of the police department, the two sorted out the issue with DePonceau delivering Santa a gift — a light switch that he can turn on from inside his car.
“We spoke for about an hour and everything has been settled,” DePonceau said. “I’m happy and he’s happy. I’m personally making him a switch for his vehicle so he can turn his lights on and off at his discretion. I told him that we didn’t have a problem with him being in the parking lots of businesses with the lights on and the music on, giving out candy canes. We just had the issue with the flashing lights because his lights were flashing on the car in all different colors because they’re Christmas lights. We just didn’t want anybody to be confused as to whether it was an emergency vehicle approaching or the Santa car.”
DePonceau said Sayre will now be able to turn the lights on from inside his car, whereas before he had to exit the vehicle to turn everything on and off.
Sayre said he was thankful the situation had been settled. Every night during the Christmas season, he has appointments to visit children in the area and hand out candy canes from 3 p.m. to 6 p.m.
This week is no different, he said.
Sayre said he started playing Santa for the children in his family and it just branched out from there.
“Sometimes, it’s not really the kids — sometimes it’s the parents and the adults,” he said. “They just get a kick out of that car and the way I have it decked out.”
Sayre said he enjoys bringing Christmas cheer to the area and plans to continue doing so going forward. He noted that he has several appointments leading up to Christmas.
“I’m not out to do anybody any harm,” he said. “I’m out there for the kids and the older people to bring some kind of joy to their life.”