A taxi driver has been left fuming after grinch council bosses banned him from wearing a Santa beard for the entire festive period over health and safety concerns.
South Kesteven District Council ordered him to remove the beard, in order to comply with the rules that his face must match his official ID badge.
Brian Makwana, 38, works for CB Taxis in Grantham, and decided to bring some extra festive joy to his customers by dressing as Father Christmas.
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Getting decked out in a fluffy white beard and a Santa hat, Makwana enjoys the attention from the public for his 'Santa Taxi', especially since the dad-of-three celebrates his birthday on Christmas Day.
But Makwana's Christmas spirit was extinguished when a single passenger complained the beard obscured Makwana's features, making him impossible to identify.
South Kesteven District Council licensing team emailed the cabbie after they had received one complaint. The council said it is not their "intention to spoil the festivities’ but the ‘safety of the public must always be the key priority’".
A spokesperson for the Council said: "The photo on a driver’s identification badge gives passengers reassurance, if needed. Therefore, we ask that any item of clothing that makes it difficult to identify a driver, must not be worn."
This is despite the COVID-19 pandemic requiring Brian to wear the feature-obscuring face masks at work every day for the past two years.
Brian has no choice but to dump his Kris Kringle costume, commenting: "Without the full costume it just doesn’t have the same effect. I get waves from members of the public on the street and in cars, both young and old. But since I’m not wearing my beard, I get nothing as they just think it’s a person wearing a Santa hat.
"After all it was council and government advice about wearing a mask and this was deemed acceptable so what is the difference, as you can see my eyes and the side of my face? I just think it’s very petty and short-sighted of the council.
"Furthermore, the size of my photo on my badge which hangs around my neck whilst driving is only visible should a customer lean in closely or request to see it, which has never happened."
In spite of the local grinches, Makwana persisted, trying to rekindle the Christmas magic by colouring his normal beard with white hair spray, but says it "flakes badly and doesn’t last very long".
Brian is "determined to continue to put a smile on people’s faces". He observed, "It makes me feel that some people need more Christmas cheer to help them because they are feeling so bad or low to have to complain about something like this."
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