An Alabama Santa Claus is getting his wish for Christmas this year, but only after a little wrangling with the state’s Department of Revenue.
Dave Reid, who you cannot deny looks a lot like Santa, received the motor vehicle equivalent to a lump of coal this year when he found out that his “HO HO” vanity license plate were deemed offensive. He plays Santa professionally and has proudly displayed the holiday message on the back of his SUV for the past six years.
“I have a 1999 4Runner that across the back glass says ‘My other ride is a sleigh’ with a wildlife license plate that says HO HO,” Reid told WSFA-TV. “How offensive is that? People drive by me on the interstate so everyone can wave and take a picture. Who is offended by that? It’s ridiculous.”
Other banned license plates in Alabama have included “OUTHSE,” “BRDP00,” and “EYEH8U.”
Alas, the holiday season is about hope and surely you can’t keep Santa on the naughty list. Reid petitioned the license plate power brokers and with a little nudging from local media, he received his Christmas miracle. He tells WSFA-TV that his plates will be renewed.
Santa or not, vanity license plates are frequently the battleground for first amendment rights. In Oklahoma, the ACLU recently came to the defense of a man who wanted “COMMIE” printed on his plates. And in Kentucky, a man was denied his request for a license plate that stated “IM GOD.”