Christmas

In Boston, Santa Drives a Backhoe, Digging Up Holiday Cheer and Charity

Sam Fuller, the backhoe Santa of Boston, is raising money for the Salvation Army, posing for pictures and handing out gifts to children

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You don't expect to see Santa Claus at the controls of a backhoe digging up a sidewalk in Roxbury. Sam Fuller is the backhoe Santa of Boston, and he's raising money.

"It's Christmas time. I know the Salvation Army can get all the help they get, so I decided, why not pitch to my company about riding around in the backhoe in a Santa suit and raise some money for the Salvation Army?" he said.

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The folks at Mirra Construction said yes. So Fuller called business owners who had donated to his charity, The Sound of a Smile, and asked if he could stop by.

"And if they want to donate, I take a picture with them in the backhoe or next to the backhoe," Fuller said.

"Just taking the initiative, I think, is just an awesome step, and then actually following through with it is another big step, as well," said Nick Santamaria, general manager at Tavern in the Square.

They take a picture or two that go on social media, and the donations are beyond Fuller's expectations.

"I thought we were going to raise a couple hundred bucks, and I would have been happy," Fuller said. "I woke up this morning and I have $2,000 in my Venmo account and $150 in cash from some local businesses."

He's also had people stop him on the street to take pictures, and he even stopped by Little Stars of Ours, a day care center in Cambridge, to hand out gifts. All of this happened in just two days. Next year, he's hoping to add more companies.

"So that maybe two weeks before Christmas next year, all you see is Santa Clauses in backhoes in the city of Boston," he said.

It's an ambitious plan, and if anyone can make it happen, it's the Santa who operates the backhoe-ho-ho.

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