Here comes Santa Claus, here comes Santa Claus, right down International Blvd.
on December 23, 2009
Santa Claus may still be busy at the North Pole, but 50 lucky Oakland children on International Boulevard received some early presents yesterday morning from an Oakland police officer dressed as Father Christmas.
Instead of eight tiny reindeer leading the way, this Chris Cringle rode an OPD Harley-Davidson.
“There’s nothing like seeing the face of a child when you give him a gift,” said OPD Traffic Investigation Officer Scott Olthoff, playing Santa for the second straight year.
Olthoff, who is 6 feet, 6 inches tall, donned a red suit, white beard and sunglasses. With an accompanying police escort, he immediately caught people’s attention as he rode through East Oakland. His route took him all the way to West Oakland, with unscheduled stops along the way to present toys to some of Oakland’s good little girls and boys.
Sixteen-month-old Talia Shelbourne, recipient of a Disney Princess doll, held the new toy in her stroller as her parents smiled.
“I said, ‘Look, Talia, it’s Santa Claus,’ and he pulled over,” mother Leah Shelbourne said. The family was on its way to the Eastmont Mall just outside the police station on 73rd Avenue in East Oakland.
Olthoff works for the Traffic Division and is a member of the OPD’s 22-member Motorcycle Drill Team. The team raised funds for the gifts, which included Candyland board games and Hot Wheels cars.
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