Santa Handed Parking Fine by Traffic Warden Over His Sleigh. "Post It to the North Pole."
"You can't do that to Santa!"
Parking is tight at holiday time, and police have no patience for violators—even if you're Santa Claus. A British man dressed as Santa was given a parking ticket by a traffic officer for pausing his sleigh in a car-free zone. Mick Worrall, 75, was dressed in full Santa garb when he parked the sleigh, pulled by a three-wheeler bike, in the city center of Worcester, England. He was distributing candy and teddy bears to children and collecting donations for a children's charity when the traffic cop slapped him with a $60 ticket. Read on to find out what happened next, if Santa will indeed have to pay, and what bystanders had to say about it.
Worrall rebuffed the citation, arguing that he was in the midst of doing a good deed. The authorities were apparently unmoved. "I refused to take the ticket," he told the Telegraph. "I told the warden, 'send it to me in the post to my address.' He said, 'where's that'? I said 'the North Pole.'" "I will go to court dressed as Father Christmas if I have to," he added. "I'm not paying a penny in fines when I'm collecting money for charity."
Police said they were issuing Worrall a ticket because his sleigh was cruising in a "traffic-free" zone. "I was not driving the decorated trike around the streets," Worrall responded. "I merely crawled along at under 2 mph to my parking spot before handing out festive gifts." "I've done it every year and never had any problems. Last year a policeman even posed with me for pictures. Maybe the traffic warden was having a bad day, or just being Scrooge, but it was petty, to say the least."
Twelve-year-old Jake Fox was in the area and witnessed the festive fracas. "I told the traffic warden, 'You can't do that! Santa is doing a good thing,'" he said. "There were lots of people gathered around and Santa was shouting at the traffic warden. To begin with, I thought it was a set-up but the traffic warden went around the rear of the vehicle to take pictures of the number plates." He added: "Santa shouted, 'You're going on the naughty list!' Lots of people were saying, 'You can't do that to Santa!' He was angry."
A Worcester City Council spokesperson told the Telegraph they wouldn't comment on individual cases but confirmed the fine was issued for "driving in a pedestrian zone." Worrall's friend Stuart Hackett witnessed the incident and spoke up on his behalf. "There's got to be rules — but it's Christmas time," argued Hackett, who was dressed as a Christmas tree. "They have got to expect someone to come along as Father Christmas to get people into the festive spirit. I would like them to scrap the ticket."
Worrall has raised thousands of dollars for charitable causes by dressing up as Santa, news outlets reported. This year, he was collecting donations for New Hope Worcester Children's Charity, which assists families whose children have disabilities and special healthcare needs. Although aggrieved, Worrall said he would return to the scene of the infraction to keep spreading holiday cheer. "I won't let the children down," he said. "I get pleasure from putting smiles on the faces of the children. I'm a bit disappointed, but it's not going to stop me. I've been doing it for years."