Secret Santa, Grinch-like meters highlight holiday driving

| 12/23/2005

Just when you thought all the Christmas spirit in the world had dried up, a very generous person is spreading a little holiday cheer.

According to The Scotsman , a secret Santa in Birmingham, England, has been placing Christmas cards filled with money on cars with parking tickets, to help the late or improperly parked owners take care of their fines.

Included in the card is a note which carries a number of different greetings, including “Merry Christmas, parking ticket Santa,” and “ Don't let this ticket spoil your Christmas – here's £30 (approximately $52 U.S.) to pay it off.”

Needless to say, the guerilla giver has made quite a few fans with his vigilantism.

“If I knew it was happening, I would put my car on double yellows more often,” Caroline Howard, one of the recipients of the money, told The Scotsman .

Unfortunately, Super Santa's days of giving might be numbered. A company in Vancouver, British Columbia, has invented a new parking meter, dubbed the Photo Violation Meter.

As its name implies, the device – which also includes some nicer features, such as the ability to pay for parking with a credit or debit card – will record a car's license plate, and mail a ticket to them if they're caught skipping out on paying the meter, according to The Associated Press .

And if the photos weren't bad enough, the new meter has another salt-in-the-wound feature. When one car pulls out of a parking spot, the meter resets the time, making it impossible for the next person to sneak in a few free minutes.