ONLY ON ABC7NEWS.COM: Move over Rudolph, Santa chooses rideshare and surprises San Jose family

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Wednesday, December 25, 2019
EXCLUSIVE: Move over Rudolph, Santa chooses rideshare, surprises South Bay family
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John Flores is an Uber driver who dresses as Santa, and hopes to extend kindness to strangers.

SAN JOSE, Calif. (KGO) -- Some rideshare users in the South Bay are coming across a familiar face- Father Christmas.

Santa is getting behind the wheel in San Jose. After posting about his experience on social media, he's been asked to help surprise those who still believe.

"Santa drives a Hyundai Tucson by the way," John Flores told ABC7 News.

Flores is the man in the Santa suit.

"I just had the idea to throw on the Santa suit for no reason at all," he said. "And kind of extend human kindness to complete strangers as much as I possibly can."

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On Christmas Eve, ABC7 News followed along as Flores hit San Jose streets.

"You're on my nice list," he told a group of pedestrians.

His first passenger then climbed into his car and shared her surprise at seeing Santa, "Nice to see you out today!"

To another group of passengers, Flores said, "Didn't think you were being 'Ubered' around by Santa, did you?"

Flores said his wife purchased the suit several years ago. It's something he's worn to surprise his own young son during Christmastime. Flores emphasized he loves his family very much.

He also said reaction from riders, other drivers and those who simply spot Santa behind the wheel is enough to make his effort worth it all.

"If I can bring joy and happiness to a complete stranger, I'm going to do it every time," he said.

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From the driver's seat, Flores delivered.

During one ride, his passengers picked up his megaphone, rolled down their windows and sang Christmas songs to other cars.

"Jingle bells, jingle bells, jingle all the way," one Uber user yelled.

Flores recently posted to a public community Facebook group about his experience.

He explained it cost him nothing to create lasting memories for others who noticed Santa in the driver's seat.

"People from 6 to 60 would be like, 'Santa! Santa! Santa,' he told ABC7 News. "And it makes me think how everybody in their heart had that one night when you were a kid, before Christmas, and a time of innocence when you knew Santa was coming to your house because you were special."

As a result of his social media post, Flores received a special request from a complete stranger.

Rita Simmons asked if Flores would be willing to make a house call on Christmas Eve.

She and her husband, Wade, wanted to keep the magic of Christmas alive for their children, Farrah, 2, and Tommy, 9.

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"He's going to be ten soon. So, I don't know how long it'll be so magical for him," she said. "But he also enjoys how much joy his two-year-old sister gets from it."

Flores spent a few minutes telling Farrah and Tommy they made the 'Nice List,' asking them to keep up the good behavior.

"They were just screaming when they heard him saying, 'Ho ho ho,'" Rita said. "It was fun to see them running around."

For Flores, the visit was a five minute trip.

However, the memories made were priceless- a description given to ABC7 News by Wade Simmons.

Flores said he'll be logging off Uber and leaving Christmas Day to Kris Kringle.