Local law enforcement officers know the roads are going to be busy this weekend, with drivers getting to their holiday destinations.
Thursday, St. Lucie County deputies weren’t only keeping an eye out for dangerous drivers.
Instead, they tried a new way of encouraging people to drive safely, and at the same time, get them into the holiday spirit.
“During the holiday season, we see the most unbelievable driving imaginable,” said Sheriff Ken Mascara.
So, even he hit the road Thursday, not to give tickets, but instead, gift cards to the drivers following the rules.
The first driver he stopped was a local contractor, and soup kitchen volunteer Scott Fassold.
“You know why I stopped you?” Mascara asked. “I stopped you because you’re actually driving very good.”
Mascara handed him a $25 dollar gift card to Publix.
Fassold laughed, and was immediately relieved.
“It’s just awesome that they care about the community,” Fassold said.
He said he’d put the money toward the soup kitchen.
“Tis the season to give. If you could make an impact in someone’s life, that definitely priceless,” Mascara said.
Mascara continued looking for anyone being a safe driver: Seatbelts on, not texting, using their blinkers, abiding by the speed limit.
He also pulled over Fort Pierce resident Bridgette Hallas.
"Um, was I speeding?” Hallas asked.
"You weren’t speeding. You were driving pretty safe,” Mascara replied. "You had your seatbelt on. You weren’t texting and driving.“
She also got a $25 Publix gift card.
“What a nice surprise,” Hallas said.
It was a bright spot for her in a tough year. She says her car got broken into.
“I had a couple of things happen this year, tough year, I got sick. So yea what a nice happy Christmas surprise,” Hallas said.
Mascara hopes it will encourage them to keep up the safe driving, and end their year on a positive note.
“Mission accomplished all the way around,” Mascara said.
Mascara gave out about 6 gift cards.
Deputies gave out 40 total.
The money for the gift cards was given to the sheriff’s office by an anonymous, generous donor.