A Patchogue father got his toddler out of harm's way in the nick of time Saturday when a commercial sign fell onto his pickup truck in a Sayville parking lot — and none other than Santa and his firefighter elves abandoned their holiday run to help.
Brian Pullan, 34, was lifting his daughter Layla, who will turn 3 on Dec. 30, out of her car seat when something sounded wrong.
"I was out Christmas shopping with my daughter," Pullan said in a telephone interview Saturday afternoon. "I heard a noise and I looked up and the sign was coming down."
Pullan, holding Layla in his arms, jumped out of the way as the Dollar Tree's sign crashed onto their Dodge Ram and another vehicle parked next to it.
West Sayville Fire Department spokesman Harry D'Onofrio said the sign was probably blown over by the wind.
The Pullans were soon joined by Santa and about 15 firefighters and police officers, who responded shortly before 11 a.m. Santa and the firefighters had been going around town when the call came in to go to the parking lot off the south Sunrise Highway Service Road.
Authorities were initially concerned that the electrical wires that light up the sign were live but they turned out not to be energized, D'Onofrio said.
Santa posed for pictures with Layla, who "wanted to know who's going to fix Daddy's truck," her father said. The sign remained on the vehicles Saturday afternoon and Pullan said it wasn't clear when it would be removed.
But in the end, it wasn't just Santa who made the youngster smile after the narrow escape.
"My daughter called me a superhero for saving her," Pullan said.