Southeastern Pennsylvania Transportation Authority Serving Bucks, Chester, Delaware, Montgomery, and Philadelphia Counties

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Sign Shop Supervisor's Special Sleigh

For the past ten years, Santa has had a very special assistant who works at 2nd and Wyoming Streets and pilots a very special holiday vehicle.

It all began very innocently, Bruce Fritz, a supervisor for SEPTA's Print & Sign Shop, became involved in a campaign sponsored by a local Country and Western radio station to provide toys to children during the holiday season. He would purchase as many toys as he could and put them in the back of his '99 Ford Ranger V6. He would then drive to a gathering point where others, who had also wished to donate toys, would form a convoy to the Wachovia Center to dispense the gifts.

Fritz, who is responsible for printing signs, posters, schedules and other printed material, soon decided to use his graphic arts background and started 'dressing' up his vehicle. Over the years, Fritz has transformed his old Ford truck into a rolling tribute to American troops serving abroad, Santa, and this year 'Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer'.

"I think Rudolph is my favorite", said Fritz.

Fritz estimates he usually spends nearly $100 a season to transform his truck into a holiday sleigh. "It's a small price to pay to bring smiles to the faces of children this time of year", said Fritz. This season, he was given a gift.  Several local businesses aided in the effort by donating the special building materials Fritz needed to prepare for the annual pilgrimage. Over the course of three days, Fritz turned his truck into Santa's red-nosed beacon. 'Rudolph' consists of nearly 28 yards of fabric, several pounds of stuffing for the legs, and 20 feet of PVC piping became the antlers. The red light he used for Rudolph's nose is on loan from a friend.

This year, through the generosity of holiday shoppers, Fritz collected 200 toys to donate to the Child Abuse Prevention Effort (CAPE). Fritz parked  'Rudolph' at area shopping centers and shoppers, happy to pick up an extra toy or two, simply deposited new items into the back of the truck.

Fritz attributes his 'Santa' alter ego to the warm family moments he recalls from past holiday seasons. "My fathers' birthday is on Christmas Eve, and I can remember the parties my family had that would carry us through Christmas Day", said the 43 year-old Fritz. "I just guess I'm still a child at heart, I want to share that excitement. Every child deserves that."

Under the watchful eyes of a family friend Bruce Fritz puts the final touches on 'Rudolph' in his workshop.

'Rudolph' stands ready to deliver toys to good boys and girls this season.

Last holiday season Bruce's pick-up became Santa with his white beard covering the hood.