Houston police surprise drivers with money instead of traffic tickets

When was the last time a police officer handed you money instead of a ticket after pulling you over? On Wednesday, for 50 lucky drivers, that's exactly what happened.

This might have been the only day of the year where some people were happy they got pulled over, all because of a generous donation to Houston police.

“The Houston Police Department, was given  $5,000 dollars in $100 dollar bills, and I received a call yesterday. It's my responsibility today to give that $5,000 dollars out in traffic stops,” said Tim Whitaker, a senior officer with HPD.

An anonymous donor wanted police to help spread holiday cheer. He gave HPD the money, each with a little sticker wishing everyone a Merry Christmas.

“I'm going to look for people violating traffic laws, and then my partner and I are going to stop them, and then we will just let them know they will receive a hundred dollar bill and on the back of the 100 dollar bill, it will say this was given by a Secret Santa, and they can use it however they wish,” said Whitaker.

The first woman they pulled over was the first in a long line of people to be a part of this Secret Santa campaign.

“When they surprised me, it's too much!” said Saadah Anfakih, one of the drivers pulled over. She had a broken tail light.

Police say they were happy to help make the holidays a little greener for those who might need it.

“This time of year, we don't see all the good, we see all the bad, so it's going to be good to see the looks on their faces when they realize I'm not there to write them a ticket -- I'm there to give them money,” said Whitaker.

Most people they pulled over had minor traffic violations, like broken tail lights.

Police say this is the second time in recent memory that they've done this.

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