A Florida deputy is dressing up as the Grinch this holiday season and handing out onions instead of citations to drivers going over the speed limit.
Monroe County Sheriff’s Office Colonel Lou Caputo came up with the idea to dress as the famous green Dr. Seuss character for Christmas time 20 years ago.
It has since become an annual tradition.
Caputo works alongside Deputy Andrew Leird on the overseas highway in Marathon, Florida, looking out for speeders every day near the school zones.
The law enforcement veteran said the goal is to get people to stop speeding in elementary school zones near the Florida Keys Overseas Highway.
“Drivers who travel about 5 mph or less above the school zone’s speed limit can choose between traffic citations and an onion presented by the Grinch,” the AP wrote.
Caputo said that a fellow deputy monitors passing cars with a laser speed detector. If a car is caught speeding, the deputy will pull the vehicle over and check the car’s license plate and the driver’s license.
The deputy then asks the driver to wait for a few seconds. The Grinch then arrives, shocking the driver and driving home the cautionary message about speeding.
The Grinch then offers the option between a citation and an onion.
Caputo said several people have chosen the onion so far, with some eating the vegetable right in front of him.
“But when I give them a clear choice of a citation or the onion, they will take the onion. And I’ve had them eat the onion right in front of me.”
For those who speed more recklessly beyond the 5-mph zone, a ticket is still in order.
“It’s about education, awareness that our school zones are still operating even though it’s the holiday season,” Caputo said. “We want people to slow down.”
“It catches them off guard,” Caputo said of the green Grinch outfit.
Speeding in a school zone can lead to fines as high as $500.