TUSTIN (CBSLA) — The Tustin Police Department Tuesday got an unusual call over their radios.
“Unit 34, Santa’s sleigh has just landed,” an officer said over the radio. “I’ve got eyes on it now.”READ MORE: Deadly Traffic Accident That Struck An Apartment Building In Pacoima Leaves 1 Dead, 5 Others Transported To Hospital
But with Kris Kringle taking to the city’s streets, police had no choice but to follow — alerting everyone in town of his presence.
“I heard the siren, so I ran outside,” Matthew Debar, of Tustin, said. “I’m like, ‘Oh, gosh! Santa’s coming!'”
For the past 22 years, Tustin police have been escorting Father Christmas as he rode through neighborhoods and welcomed children on his sleigh. But this year, the coronavirus pandemic almost put the kibosh on Santa’s Christmas plan.
“I thought that maybe he wasn’t coming because of COVID, so when I saw him, I was so excited,” Kayla Van Niekerk, of Tustin, said.
Instead of giving up the beloved tradition, Santa and Mrs. Claus decided they would still make the trip to Orange County — but with modifications.
“The kids hated to not be able to come up and see Santa, but Santa’s gotta be careful, because I gotta go back and see the elves,” Santa said.READ MORE: COVID-19 Vaccination Rates Among LAPD And LAFD Well Behind County Residents
And even though the sleigh wasn’t able to stop, local kids couldn’t have been happier with the visit.
“We wanted to see him, a lot,” Allison Debar, of Tustin, said. “And I just really, really loved it.”
“I like when he was just coming around the corner,” Christopher Van Niekerk, of Tustin, said. “I got really surprised, and I was so happy.”
And while a number of holiday traditions have been canceled or scaled back, parents said they were thankful for the visit from the big man himself.
“Tonight was so special for me, because this year we’re not taking the kids to see Santa with COVID and everything, so this is the only shot they got,” mom Charlene Debar, of Tustin, said.
As for Santa and Mrs. Claus, they’ll be on the streets of Tustin, escorted by the police department, every night through Dec. 18.MORE NEWS: Pursuit Suspect Attacks CHP Officers In Simi Valley
“Nothing will stop COVID, not even COVID,” Mrs. Claus said.