A Wichita, Kansas, man has been greeted by authorities with a big “bah humbug” after he covered his truck with 856 Christmas lights to commemorate the holiday season. Rather than merely staring at the vehicle in awe, police fined Dave Hill $300 — a penalty he claims won’t stop him from spreading Christmas cheer throughout his local highways and byways.
Hill’s refusal to give up his holiday cheer is understandable. After all, the colorful display took him and his friends 16 hours to assemble and is powered by an 8,000 watt generator placed in the back of the truck. Authorities claim that the red and blue lights that are included are dangerous, as they may confuse other drivers and cause people to mistake his truck as an emergency vehicle.
One local reporter used the word “Grinched” to describe the situation, however police see the scenario as more of a safety issue.
“It’s a safety issue,” said Lt. Joe Schroeder, an officer with the Wichita Police Department. “When somebody puts colored lights on their vehicle, they’re saying ‘everybody look at me,’ and when people are looking at that particular vehicle, they become a hazard.”
Hill, though, claims that this explanation is not necessarily valid, noting that thousands of people have taken pictures of the truck and stopped to “come up and look at it.” He is using the Christmas lights to promote his charity, “One Spark Can Start a Fire,” a group that urges people to perform random acts of kindness.
“A lady when I was getting my coffee today said ‘Hey, my husband died last week but this made me smile,’” Hill explained. “It’s over and over again people say, ‘Hey I’ve had a crappy day and those lights made me smile.’”
So, with Christmas still 13 days away, it looks like more tickets could be headed Hill’s way.