Over the holidays, Jeff Grimes turned neighborhood hang-out into Santa's workshop

BARBARA SHERMAN - Jeff Grimes' golf cart was a mobile Christmas display complete with a Christmas tree over the holidays, which is one of his favorite times of year.Jeff Grimes is well-known around the Tigard Towne Square shopping center, where he hangs out on a regular basis at Starbucks.

If his name doesn't sound familiar, his golf cart certainly is. Grimes decorates it for the major holidays and always carries gifts to hand out to kids.

The golf cart itself was a gift, with Grimes explaining, "A woman said, 'We're moving to Scottsdale – do you want our golf cart?' She made it affordable – it cost $7,000, and she charged me $1,000. I started using it to make people happy."

Grimes, who is a retired bus driver and lives in Arbor Heights just above Summerfield on Little Bull Mountain, said, "Summerfield residents donate clubs to me. I think 80 percent of the people with golf carts don't golf or the golfers want a new set of clubs or they retire. And one lady bought me 100 balls to give out to kids.

"When you give a kid a club and tell him to go outside and play with it, he stops playing video games."

Grimes is known to give kids in his neighborhood rides on his golf cart on the golf course paths, noting that with the cart's configuration, he can take up to five kids at a time.

Besides giving away clubs and balls and other items, Grimes said McDonald's gives him coupons for free sandwiches and milkshakes to give away, adding that giving is in his nature.

"I loved being a bus driver," he said. "I am a Christian and want to help people. I would hand out day tickets to the homeless so they could ride free all day. TriMet was great to work for, and if you like people, it's a great job."

Grimes called Starbucks a great place to connect with people, and when families are there with their children, he invites the kids to take a look at his golf cart, which is right outside because he always seems to find a parking space right in front.

For Halloween, Grimes puts a full-size skeleton named George holding a fishing pole in the cart and adds a pumpkin in the back.

"All the kids want to get in and take pictures with George," he said.

Grimes also likes decorating his golf cart patriotically for the Fourth of July, although he admits he doesn't do much for St. Patrick's Day.

But for Christmas, Grimes goes all out, noting that the tree on the cart was given to him by a Summerfield resident.

As Grimes was talking during the holiday season, a woman handed him a Christmas card that she had brought for him, and he handed one back to her.

And another lady asked him, "Is that your golf cart out there? It is so great."

Grimes said that he has had police officers in their patrol cars and firefighters in their engines call out greetings to him or yell, "Great cart!"

Grimes, who volunteers for Loaves & Fishes in Tualatin, said that because he is disabled, the golf cart is his mobility device so he can take in on public streets for the short hop to Starbucks.

"It goes a maximum of 10 mph, so how much trouble can you get into?" he asked.

Grimes credits the nearby Les Schwab's for keeping the cart in running order, which it needs to be for his daily trip to Starbucks for coffee and a banana and some gift-giving.

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