LAKEWOOD – For the past week and a half, many in Jamestown may have noticed a festive PT Cruiser traveling the area; however, it was not all candy canes and gum drops for the Santa Claus behind the wheel.
Over the past four years, Gerald Sayre, a.k.a. Santa Claus, has decorated his vehicle in hopes of spreading Christmas cheer.
With candy canes in hand, Sayre meets with everyone young and old.
“The kids, but it is also the older people, when they see this car lit up like they do, they get a cheer, a big simile lit up on their face,” said Sayre.
However, not everyone was smiling when they spotted Santa cruising down the road. Last week, Sayre was pulled over by an officer with the Lakewood-Busti Police Department, who stopped him for his flashing Christmas lights.
“The officer said, with the lights flashing people might think it was an emergency vehicle and want to get out of the way,” said Sayre. “In my opinion, what emergency vehicle would be driving around and playing Here Comes Santa Claus with all these kinds of lights.”
The officer was also concerned with Santa’s obstructed back license plate, an offence that could have warranted a traffic ticket.
“He was going to (give me a ticket) but for some reason he had a better thought,” explained Sayre. “He just said: okay, I’ll just give you a warning.”
Since his run in with the law, Santa met with the village’s chief of police to rectify the problem, installing a new light switch to control the display.
“He (the Chief) made me a switch where I can turn the lights off when I am driving down Fairmount Avenue, and when I go into Walmart or Wegmans parking lot, I can turn my lights on without getting out of the car,” said Sayre.
Going forward, the Santa is cleared to drive in Lakewood once again.
“See the car their eyes light up, but then when they see Santa Claus driving it, that really makes them light up,” said Sayre. “When I drive around the housing areas, the kids will hear my music and they will be standing out on the front porch waiting for me to drive by their house.”
In addition to Santa’s patrols around the area, he also makes house calls. Those looking to learn more can call Sayre at (716) 526-4162.
Sayre plans to continue his routes through Christmas Eve.