Byram resident Dave Green recently gave the town a treat. Dressed as one of Santa’s helpers, he rode around town on his motorcycle giving out candy canes to children and bringing lots of joy and smiles to kids young and old. His ride symbolized happiness and hope during a year that has been filled with so much change due to Covid.
“I’ve had a Santa suit for years, and last year took a ride just for fun,” he said. “The reaction from motorists was incredible.”
Fast forward to the beginning of November 2020, when inspiration struck him at his day job. “The idea came to me that everyone has had a rough year and how could I bring some holiday cheer,” he said. “With Santa not being as readily available to our kids, I thought it would be nice to ride around the community dressed as Santa on the motorcycle in this year of the drive-by birthday party. I put the idea out on our Byram parents’ site on Facebook to see what the interest would be and within 15 minutes my phone exploded with message after message, so there was no backing out.”
Green originally had planned on doing the ride on either the first or second weekend in December, but because he would be on his motorcycle, he had to watch the weather.
“As the Thanksgiving weekend approached, I decided to do the ride on November 29 because the long-range forecast did not look great,” he said. “I had been mapping out a route since I came up with the idea and that was no small task. Trying to coordinate roads and times to give people an idea when I would be in their area was a challenge. Between using paper maps, the computer and driving around to locate all of the streets I spent over 12 hours in planning.”
On November 27, Green put a tentative schedule out giving all the families an idea of when he would be in their area as well as the order of streets so people could even reach out and let others know where Santa was.
“The day of the ride, November 29, I headed out at 9:30 in 37 degree, clear weather,” he said. “I got home around 3:30 covering about 125 miles.”
Every mile was worth it.
“The reactions from the kids were incredible,” Green said. “There were kids jumping up and down with excitement. Some kids were even a bit nervous or scared of the big man. As great as the reactions of the kids were, the reactions I got from the parents equaled that of the kids. For one day everyone believed in Santa.”
Green had parents asking if they could donate candy canes for the ride but after one person donated over 270 canes he had to tell people he did not need anymore. He ended up handing out over 200 candy canes.
“Dave Green spread holiday cheer all throughout Byram,” said Stacy Williams. “The response was overwhelming. He posted what streets he would be going down on our Byram Township Facebook page, and then took the entire day to go up and down each neighborhood, waving to the kids and handing out candy canes.”
Green is a materials handler at Dover Tubular Alloys but is also a motorcycle rider coach for Rider Education of New Jersey. He was a Cub Scout den leader for four years and an active Scout Committee member. He has lived in Byram since 2004 and has always tried to be active in the community.
“I love this town and the people in it,” he said.
“Due to weather, I probably will not do another ride this year,” he said. “hHowever because of the response I received from the public and the joy it brought, I can say that I am already putting ideas together and planning next year’s ride.”
“The reactions from the kids were incredible. There were kids jumping up and down with excitement. Some kids were even a bit nervous or scared of the big man. As great as the reactions of the kids were, the reactions I got from the parents equaled that of the kids. For one day everyone believed in Santa.” Dave Green