Dearborn Heights police surprise drivers with gift cards instead of tickets

Posted at 12:16 PM, Dec 17, 2020
and last updated 2020-12-17 12:16:38-05

(WXYZ) — What's normally not a welcome sight in your rearview mirror is sparking joy around metro Detroit today.

If you're in Dearborn Heights, prepare for a traffic stop you might want!

Christmas is still eight days away, but it came early for a handful of people in the city. Instead of getting tickets, they were handed $50 Kroger gift cards. It's part of a joint effort to give people a little boost, both in their hearts and their wallets.

“This is our third year partnering with LAHC and around the holidays now especially during the COVID pandemic…surprise instead of a ticket… does just that," Kroger Corporate Affairs Manager Rachel Hurst said.

Kroger is partnering with Leaders Advancing and Helping Communities to make it happen. It's called "Santa on Patrol."

On Thursday, they'll hand out $2,500 in gift cards to people like Chris O'Neal, who was pretty confused when he got pulled over.

Confusion aside, it came at a good time. O'Neal, who works at the airport, is one of the thousands of metro Detroiters out of a job right now due to the pandemic.

This holiday season, Kroger will donate $15,000 across the state through its community partnerships.

This is LAHC's 5th annual Santa on Patrol.

“This year’s event is a little different and special…many people lost their sources of income," LAHC Executive Director Wassim Mahfouz said.