COHOES, N.Y. (NEWS10) – Santa Claus came to town ahead of schedule for some boys and girls in Cohoes Friday evening. The big man had some help from a few elves with the Cohoes Fire Department to help spread Christmas cheer to families in need.

“Are you guys ready? We’re going to make a lot of kids happy in Cohoes tonight,” Santa exclaims as he enters the cab of the ladder truck decorated with Christmas lights and inflatables.

Usually, when the fire engines leave the fire station in Cohoes, they are heading to someone in need. This Christmas Eve, it was a different kind of need than the firefighters are used to. Santa Claus traded in his big red sleigh for a big red truck and drove around to different houses dropping gifts off to children.

“They are so surprised because they don’t expect me to be here now,” Santa says, “they expect me to come overnight. So it’s just great to see the smiles on their faces when you hand them the toys, especially if it’s what they wanted. It’s just amazing to see.” 

Since 1979, with the help of Jack Daigneault, the Cohoes Fire Department has gone around the city giving gifts to kids who otherwise might not have anything under the tree Christmas day. “This gives them an idea of what we actually do,” Daigneault says, “not only in emergencies but also in a happy situation. And we have Santa! And everybody loves Santa.” 

For the families Santa surprises, the reaction on the children’s faces say it all. “It definitely means a lot. It touched my heart, especially to see them so happy. It’s all about the kids,” says Barbara Lozo whose children were surprised by Santa.