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Sanity Prevails

Just as we were thinking the Christmas spirit was in trouble with all sorts of kinders and schools cancelling Christmas plays and all that fun kid-stuff just in case someone got offended, here's one from the eastern burbs that makes it all OK.

All year, Gursharan Singh Bhatia is lollipop man at the Medina Rd crossing outside Glendal Primary School in Glen Waverley.

But for the last few school days before Christmas, he leaves his traditional Sikh turban at home and doffs a Father Christmas hat.

All the Glendal kids, their parents and the staff, call him Gooch.

The stop sign in one hand and a basket of lollies in the other have made Gooch an institution.

The Sikh Santa even gets a friendly wave and a toot from motorists and bus drivers, and often they too get to take their pick from Gooch's basket of goodies.

"The turban is a symbol of my religion, but I believe in everything, my religion is all in here," Gooch said, patting his chest.

"I believe in humanity."

The boss of Equity Adjusters loss adjusting firm just round the corner from the school, Leo Fluitsma, said Gooch was one of the bright spots of Christmas.

"It's great seeing this Sikh guy out there, always smiling and surrounded by happy kids, and not caring two hoots about political correctness," Fluitsma told us as he unwrapped a mini Mars bar.

Gooch said he had no intention of giving up the lollipop job.

"I love all the kids, and they love me," he said.
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