Wait a minute - is that Santa driving that TriMet bus?

Wait a minute - is that Santa driving that TriMet bus?
TriMet riders on Line 52 get a holiday delight this time of year - a ride from Santa Claus. KATU photo.

HILLSBORO, Ore. - On Christmas Eve, Santa Claus gets around by sleigh but did you know that the rest of the year he drives a TriMet bus?

Well not exactly. The guy you see on TriMet's Line 52 is actually Bob Foster, who just happens to be a dead ringer for the big guy.

Foster has been dressing up as Kris Kringle during the holidays for years and in addition to his job driving a TriMet bus, he plays Santa at various venues around town (he takes time off during the Christmas season to do it).

"Santa isn't a job you choose, it chooses you," he said. "You get the certain physique and then the beard goes gray and the next thing you know (you are Santa). And if you've got the personality, that makes a difference too."

Foster said he has had the beard since he was 18 years old. He's been driving for TriMet for over 30 years now and says it's just a whole lot of fun to play Santa this time of year.

"It's the mystique of Santa," he said. "It's one of the few characters you can play that has been around for thousands of years."