About 30 motorists pulled over for speeding on Christmas in the Florida city of Melbourne were greeted with a surprise: scratch-off lottery tickets, courtesy of the police.
“We’re just doing a little bit of a different technique,” Sgt. Jamie Rocque told Florida Today.
However, Rocque said the gifts came packaged with warnings or actual citations for drivers. And another Melbourne officer told ABC News that the lottery tickets were a one-time Christmas exception only.
"I can tell you right now that no one is getting lottery tickets today," Sgt. Sheridan Shelley said. "Hopefully nobody has it in their mind to speed and expect to receive a lotto ticket — that was a one-shot deal for Christmas."
Still, Rocque said officers paid for the tickets with their own money.
“It’s something good to do in light of the holidays. We’re getting a lot of surprised looks … people don’t know what to say,” he said.
And if anyone scratches off a winner, getting pulled over for speeding on Christmas might just turn out to be the best present of the year.
Like so much of Florida, Melbourne is not without its share of random news stories. In 2009, a private Halloween party drew an estimated 10,000 attendees, overwhelming the downtown area. The entire city has an estimated population of just over 75,000 residents.
And it's not a coincidence that Melbourne shares a name with its Australian counterpart. Back when it was just a small, emerging Florida town in the late 1800's, Melbourne was given its name in honor of its first postmaster, who had spent much of his life in Australia before coming to the U.S. Residents of the town reportedly drew straws, and the name Melbourne was officially chosen.