How far should a state government go to police the content of licence plates?
After all, the words “Ho Ho” could be taken the wrong way … that is, unless you’re Santa Claus! ( Not really, but, we’re all PC now! )
Professional Santa Dave Reid has driven across the State of Alabama in his 1999 4Runner, spreading Christmas cheer with the words “My other ride is a sleigh” across the back glass and a “Ho Ho” vanity license plate that he’s always paid extra for.
Until this year, when Alabama deemed the plate offensive, according to local NBC affiliate WSFA 12.
To Santa, this was no laughing matter.
“When you live with the spirit of Christmas year round, when you project that spirit to the children, where ever you meet them, whenever you meet them, it’s a slap in the face when a government entity says that’s offensive,” he told WSFA. “How far do we go with that? It’s really crazy.”
In fact, there are over 6,000 plates the Alabama Department of Revenue has deemed “offensive,” including “SHOOTEM,” “1MGAY,” “OINKPD,” “OUTHSE,” “LESB1AN,” “13ITCH,” and “DIE,” among others.
Except, it’s nearly impossible to keep up with all the potentially offensive variations:
“I went on the computer where you can reserve your tags,” Reid said. “I tried several variations. When you type H-O it locks up. I typed in UA, like the University of Alabama, space H-O-E, and it took it! Essentially, I could be driving around a license plate that says UA HOE, but I can’t have a license plate that says HO HO.”
After seeking help from the local NBC affiliate, their intervention seems to have helped. Alabama spokesman Frank Miles told the station, “After a manual review, the tag was actually approved.”
Even though he has to use a temporary tag for now, Santa was thrilled with the Christmas miracle.
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