Andrew Tanielian, NBC 5 News
A North Texas cabbie cherishes Christmas so much you'll hope he's behind the wheel of your next ride.
A Dallas cabbie cherishes Christmas so much he's adapted the holiday into a seasonal service.
We hope for convenience, not good cheer, from a taxi. But that's what you'll find if you're one of the lucky few to hop into the bright yellow cab driven by Santa around McKinney Avenue.
During the warmer months, Santa is known as Johnny Wicker. His business cards are so popular, they might as well come with bubblegum.
"I'm usually 12 hours on, 12 hours off," Wicker said.
He started his cabbie career in 1977 and began dressing as Santa after his mother died in 1998 on Christmas.
"It was a hard day," Wicker said.
To celebrate the holiday that his mother cherished, he decks out his yellow minivan with candy canes, colored lights, felt reindeer antlers on the back hatch and a very noticeable red nose on the front hood.
And if you were wondering if his snowy white beard is real?
"Yes, I have a real beard," he said. "It takes me seven months to grow it."
Driving around certain parts of the city can be dangerous, and Santa has to have an idea as to who's naughty or nice.
"I've had some problems over the 34 years I've been out here," Wicker said.
But Santa ducked a question about if he carries any kind of protection.
"I can't tell you if Santa's packin'," said Wicker, laughing.
Did we mention he also has experience in the ring?
"I'm a pro -- professional wrestler," Wicker said. "I've been doing it for 23 years."
He's also a trained stuntman who enjoys what one might call the "clause and effect" of spreading joy to his fares and the people he meets at stoplights.