(CNN) — What if police gave out presents instead of traffic tickets. That would be a nice trick, or maybe an alternate reality.
Actually, it was a stunt for UPtv.
The family friendly cable channel pulled off the stunt in late November with the help of Lowell, Michigan, Police Department.
Officer Scot VanSolkema stopped unsuspecting drivers for minor traffic violations and then chatted them up about what their family would like for Christmas.
“Got all your Christmas shopping done?” he asked one woman as she pulled out her proof of insurance and registration.
“No, I haven’t even started,” she answered before telling VanSolkema what her daughter and son were asking for.
Listening in were Santa’s helpers with UPtv, who quickly dashed about a local store buying, wrapping and delivering the presents to the traffic stop within 15 minutes.
“Oh my God, can I hug you?”
So, on and on it went, 50 drivers in all, according to CNN affiliate WZZM. VanSolkema handed out some 30 presents worth about $7,000.
And no tickets.
Lowell Police Chief Steve Bukala said you can learn a lot about somebody in just a few minutes.
“Most of the contact the police officers have with the general public is on a traffic stop and you can find a lot out about that person in that 10 to 15 minute window, whether they’re having a good day, a bad day, or a horrible day,” he said.
“And then we got this idea: what if we could change that person’s day in real time? What if we could change that person’s day right now?”
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