CHICKASHA, Okla. (KFOR) – We all know Santa rides a sleigh, but Santa’s helpers can ride anything they want.
And one of those helpers cruises the streets of Chickasha on a Harley!
It’s not just any Harley; his plays Christmas carols as he waves to residents while dressed in a Santa suit. That earned Russell Thompson the title of “Cycle Santa.”
Like clockwork, Russell rides from the day after Thanksgiving all the way to Christmas Eve on Fridays, Saturdays, and Sundays.
“Everybody knows when you see Cycle Santa, it’s Christmas time,” resident Shayni Hayes said. “Everybody gets so excited, it doesn’t matter if you’re 5 or 55, everybody gets excited when they see him coming.”
For putting smiles on so many faces, Shayni nominated Russell for a $400 Pay It 4Ward award from First Fidelity Bank.
“I think he’s very giving, he doesn’t get paid to do it, nobody offers him anything to do it. He just does it to make everybody happy,” Shayni said.
When our KFOR camera crew went to Chickasha to surprise Russell, he was greeting children outside Bill Wallace Early Childhood Center.
“I’m excited, I’m excited!” the students cheered.
“Merry Christmas, how are you? Oh my goodness. Have you all been good?” Cycle Santa asked the kids. “Yes!” they replied.
“Is it PJ day? Yeah! Alright, pajama day, I love it, I love it,” Cycle Santa said while hugging each child.
That’s when Shayni stepped forward with a surprise for Russell.
“On behalf of First Fidelity Bank, Channel 4, and all the residents of Chickasha and children, I’d like to present you with $400 for everything you do to bring joy to everybody,” she said.
“Oh, thank you so much. It will be donated forward, very much so,” Russell said.
As a kid, Russell grew up mesmerized by another Cycle Santa in Chickasha, who has since passed away. After years of Santa-less streets, Russell’s stint started a few years back by accident.
He showed up for a Santa helper’s gig, then had nowhere to change clothes. So, in his suit, Russell rode through Chickasha, and the town lit up.
“Seeing Santa on a Harley was the coolest thing I’d ever seen as a little boy. And now I can see in the eyes of these kids, it’s just as cool to them as it was to me when I was little,” Russell said. “You have no idea how many honks, waves, and hugs, and people just coming out of their cars to take pictures, selfies with me. And they’re all adults or elderly.”
“Sometimes I’ll just pull up and there will be someone next to me and I’ll just look over and give them a peace sign, and they look over and have to do a double take. And they see me, and then they’re like, ‘Oh, hey, what’s up?!’ And they roll the window down and they’re like, ‘Dude, Santa on a motorcycle? That’s crazy!'” Russell said. “If that’s something I can do to make their Christmas a little bit better, it’s worth it every time.”
Cycle Santa spreads goodwill to all, like the spirit of Santa himself. And, true to his word, Russell did pay it forward. He donated the $400 to the Salvation Army Angel Tree in Chickasha to pay for the remaining angels left on the tree.
If you know someone deserving of a Pay It 4Ward award, you can nominate them here. Please note, you cannot nominate immediate family.
Pay It 4Ward is sponsored by First Fidelity Bank.