Santa normally ditches his sleigh and reindeer when he drops in to the British Forces Brunei Community - arriving instead by helicopter.
Not this year, however.
Due to what was described as a 'hiccup' with the aircraft - he had to be driven in instead, in the back of a pick-up.
Father Christmas surprises all the good boys and girls of the Armed Forces in Brunei every December, normally arriving in a Bell 212 helicopter but sadly, this year, Santa had to make other arrangements.
“Unfortunately we’ve had a hiccup with the aircraft, [but] we had to deliver Santa.”
With his reindeer left at the North Pole to rest before the big day, the big man in red and two of his elves enlisted the help of 7 Flight Army Air Corps to give them a ride to Treetops Nursery and Hornbill school.
Santa and his sidekicks were able to high five the children and even start a few conga lines because Brunei remains COVID-19 free, meaning British Forces Brunei can enjoy more relaxed restrictions than most places across the world.
People took to social media to praise all who were involved in getting Santa there in time:
"Thank you Santa and all of your helpers from one very grateful grandma xxx
"Santa should always arrive in a Huey! Great memories! 🚁 🎄"
Staff Sergeant Mark Wadsworth was ‘IC Christmas’ and told BFBS Brunei broadcaster Curtis Tyler how the show simply had to go on. He said:
“It was an important task so 7 Flight pulled it out the bag and we managed to deliver Santa to Treetops Nursery and Hornbill School utilising some vehicles.”
For 7 Flight Army Air Corps, Santa’s visit is the biggest event of the year because the arrival of Father Christmas is a big morale boost, especially to the children.
Traditionally, Santa arrives in a helicopter normally reserved for use by the Army Air Corps in the jungle areas of Brunei. Thankfully spirits were not dampened by it not appearing.
Instead, Santa arrived in a vehicle driven by two of his festive elves. SSgt Wadsworth said:
“You could see from the reaction on the kids' faces at both Treetops and Hornbill that they thoroughly enjoyed it and I’m glad that we’ve been able to deliver and put a smile on the kids' faces.”
Anita Collins, Manager of Treetops Nursery explained that Santa not arriving on a helicopter did not matter. They all realise how much work goes into organising VIP visits like this so just him being there was more than enough. She said:
“Santa didn’t arrive on his helicopter, but he didn’t disappoint the children.
“They’ve all been such great boys and girls this year that he bought a gift for all of the children and they just loved it, so it didn’t matter that the helicopter didn’t come."