Cabbie slams killjoys after ban on wearing Santa beard for ‘elf and safety’

A cabbie getting into the Christmas spirit by wearing a Santa beard on his shifts has been told to take it off over public safety concerns.

Brian Makwana, 37, was asked to remove his festive fancy dress “for the safety of the public,” after a passenger claimed they couldn’t identify him with it on.

The father of three had donned the beard with the intention of bringing a little festive sparkle to his customer’s journeys, but the fun stopped when South Kesteven District Council ordered him to remove it.

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He works for CB Taxis in Grantham, Lincolnshire but was told his ID card and face had to match – despite being mandated to wear a facemask throughout the pandemic.

He said: “Without the full costume it just doesn’t have the same effect.

“I get waves from members of the public on the street and in cars, both young and old.

“But since I’m not wearing my beard, I get nothing as they just think it’s a person wearing a Santa hat.

“After all it was council and government advice about wearing a mask and this was deemed acceptable so what is the difference, as you can see my eyes and the side of my face?

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“I just think it’s very petty and short-sighted of the council.

“Furthermore, the size of my photo on my badge which hangs around my neck whilst driving is only visible should a customer lean in closely or request to see it, which has never happened.”

Brian has a beard of his own – which he tried to paint white as a workaround – but logistical issues made the fake beard preferable.

“It makes me feel that some people need more Christmas cheer to help them because they are feeling so bad or low to have to complain about something like this,” he added.

South Kesteven told him it wasn’t their “intention to spoil the festivities” but the “safety of the public must always be the key priority”.

A spokesperson said: “The photo on a driver’s identification badge gives passengers reassurance if needed.

“Therefore, we ask that any item of clothing that makes it difficult to identify a driver, must not be worn.”

South Kesteven District Council has been approached for comment.

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