News Local

Vancouver bus driver rejects TransLink ban on Santa suit 0

By Michael Mui, 24 Hours Vancouver

Self described "rebel" Kirk Rockwell is defying his employers by continuing to dress up as St. Nick for work despite a ban. (PHOTO SUBMITTED)

Self described "rebel" Kirk Rockwell is defying his employers by continuing to dress up as St. Nick for work despite a ban. (PHOTO SUBMITTED)

A Lower Mainland bus driver is challenging a ban on his tradition of dressing up as St. Nick while on the job each December.

Kirk Rockwell said he has donned his red suit and Santa hat — always with the permission of his supervisor — for the past 15 years to celebrate the holiday spirit.

He said he again got permission this year to dress up as Santa, but for reasons Rockwell still can’t comprehend, the same supervisor sent him a letter on Dec. 2 telling him that he could no longer drive around dressed as Santa Claus.

TransLink spokesman Derek Zabel said on Wednesday the uniform policy changed about a year ago. The changes were partly due to safety reasons, he said, as wearing a uniform projects professionalism and lets people know an official is present.

Bus drivers can wear Santa hats and a festive tie, but full-body costumes — including those some drivers wear during Halloween — are now banned.

Nathan Woods, president of drivers’ union Unifor 111, said transit operators never got the memo about the change.

He questioned why TransLink would decide to focus on clothing choices instead of service improvements, and added the company still operates two buses that are decorated to look like reindeer during the holiday season.

“That’s not been missed by anybody,” he said. “The Toys for Tots bus is still out there with a big red nose (like) a reindeer.”

Rockwell, who described himself as a “rebel with a Claus,” remained steadfast in his December fashion choice.

“I’m sure there’s going to be repercussions tomorrow,” he said on Wednesday. “I’m not backing down.”

Zabel said the company celebrates Christmas in other ways, such as through its reindeer buses that pick up toys for children. Since 1985, he said, 60,000 toys have been donated and $15,000 has been raised.

“So to call us Grinches, that’s not really fair when we do a lot of really good stuff for the Lower Mainland Christmas Bureau and a lot of our employees are really proud of that,” he said.

 

 

 

Poll

Is TransLink being unfair with its policy banning drivers from dressing up as Santa Claus?

Reader's comments »

By adding a comment on the site, you accept our terms and conditions and our netiquette rules.


Featured Businesses

Go to the Marketplace »