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Santa works to fulfill Christmas wish list found in Kansas written by an El Paso boy

Paydirt Pete
Stephanie Valle
Paydirt Pete of UTEP looks for a good gift after a letter written by an El Paso boy is found in Kansas. The boy was asking for a Paydirt Pete toy.

EL PASO, Texas -- A Christmas wish list from a boy that was discovered along a highway in the Midwest includes a request for an item that is unmistakably El Paso.

The letter, signed by a boy named Lucas Rubio, was picked up by hay farmer Sam Oyler in Garden City, Kansas -- more than 600 miles northeast of the Sun City.

"'That's a Paw Patrol balloon,'" Oyler told ABC-7 via Skype as he recounted the day he and his son spotted the mylar balloon floating near his truck. "And on the bottom was some ribbon and there was a paper hanging on the bottom of this ribbon."

Oyler said he wanted to fulfill Lucas' wish list, but was mystified by the request for a "Paydirt Pete toy." He sent the list to Kris Kringle, a.k.a. Santa Claus, who he had met several years earlier when Santa helped his son's class with a charity project. 

Some research revealed to Santa and Oyler what El Pasoans already know: Paydirt Pete is UTEP's mascot.

"I had a feeling this balloon had floated in from a long ways," Oyler said.

Santa knew he could fulfill the wish list with some help from his elves in Garden City. But the hard part, according to St. Nick, was finding Lucas.

"It is a struggle. Of course, I don't want to let anyone down at this time of year," he told ABC-7 in a FaceTime interview from the North Pole. "So, we're hoping that (this report) will take off (on social media) and that somebody knows who Lucas is."

ABC-7 reached out to UTEP after Santa said he contacted the university's cheer team for information about Paydirt Pete merchandise. The mascot director told ABC-7 what Lucas wants isn't available in the campus bookstore. The closest item is a bobble head, and it wasn't for sale, said Caesar Cubillos.

"This bobble head was actually pretty hard to find. It took us awhile to find this one," Cubillos said, gesturing to a small mascot replica he held in his hand. "The last time I remember bobble heads being given out was the 50th anniversary of the '66 national championship team."

"I had to go to (the) Athletics (department) and look around. Nobody found one," Cubillos said. "Finally, we were able to find one that was in an office that had been there for awhile, apparently. We just jumped right on it."

All that's left is to find the boy and connect him with the little toy.

News / Top Stories / UTEP / Video

Stephanie Valle

Stephanie Valle co-anchors ABC-7 at 5, 6 and 10 weeknights.


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