You are driving to a meeting and you are already late. You know you are going over the speed limit but you have to take that chance. A set of red and blue flashing lights appear in your rear view mirror and you say to yourself, “Just what I need. Merry Christmas.”
If you are driving in the small Texas town of Sansom Park it just might be a Merry Christmas. From the end of November through Christmas officers of Sansom Park are handing out Tickets for Tots instead of citations for offences like speeding, expired license, proof of insurance, etc. Instead of a citation that can cost drivers $165.00, they are asked to donate a toy and bring it to the police station to be given to kids in the area. The donation is completely voluntary but most drivers feel that it is a good deal.
On November 24, 2008 Jay Gormley of CBS 11 News in Fort Worth, Texas ran a news segment about Ticketing for Tots in Sansom Park. Officer Daniel Martinez of the Sansom Park police force said that the program was started because the community was a low income community and a lot of kids would not be getting any toys for Christmas. The hope was that the generous spirit of the police officers would get passed on to motorists. The program was successful and drivers have donated numerous toys but it didn’t stop there.
On December 18, 2008 Mr. Gormley did a follow-on segment about Sansom Park. Apparently the news services picked up the story and the Sansom Park Tickets for Tots got national attention. Boxes of toys and monetary donations arrived from states as far away as New York and Virginia. The toy storage area has outgrown the police department and toys are now being kept in the fire house. Police leaders in numerous small cities have contacted Sansom Park officials to get help in setting up a similar program in their cities.
This little community just north of Fort Worth, Texas has only 12 officers. But their creativity and desire to help less fortunate kids enjoy the Christmas spirit has started a trend in generosity that has continued to grow well beyond the confines of Sansom Park. One doesn’t have to donate millions of dollars to make a different in peoples’ lives. Sometimes a creative idea and a generous action can make life better for a lot of people. Congratulations Sansom Park. Merry Christmas.