12/12/2013 06:46 EST

Vancouver Santa Wins Back Permission To Wear Suit On B.C. Buses

It's a Christmas miracle.

Following reports that Coast Mountain bus driver Kirk Rockwell was told to end his 16-year tradition of dressing up as Santa while on shift, a public outcry has forced the company to reverse its ban.

Originally, Coast Mountain said it was worried passengers wouldn't be able to identify the driver of the bus, and suggested he don a Santa hat or a festive tie instead of jolly old Saint Nick's suit.

But riders said "Bah, Humbug" and blasted Coast Mountain for the Grinch-like move.

Now the company has had a Whoville-sized change of heart, and Rockwell will be able to continue spreading the Christmas cheer—beard and all.

“We want to let our customers and the public know that we will continue to allow our transit operator to wear his Santa suit while on duty,” Vice President of Operations for Coast Mountain Bus Stan Sierpina told Global News. “We recognize that we have underestimated how much our customers value this holiday spirit.”

Even before the company lifted the ban, Rockwell had said he would continue wearing the Santa suit despite the new rule—a declaration that gave him the apt title of "Rebel with a Claus."

With files from The Canadian Press

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