Operation Red Nose geared up for the holiday season yesterday with a call for volunteers to help ferry over-partied people home.

A three-person Red Nose team drives tipsy revellers home in their own car, for free, to combat drunk driving. Donations are welcome and diverted to charity.

Corinne MacLellan, the Halifax coordinator, said Halifax, Sydney and Truro had 688 volunteers last year, driving 1,730 passengers home over eight nights. Most of those were in Halifax, which aims to recruit 300 volunteers.


“We’re on track for that, but we’re always happy to have more volunteers,” she said. “By midnight, the phones just go right off the hook.”

Alan Spruin signed up for the fifth straight year. He works for insurance company RSA, which generally covers one night a year.

“I just thought it was such a worthwhile cause and it really is a lot of fun,” he said. He’s got extra motivation this year: a brand-new baby boy. “It brings on a whole new element to helping someone else have a great holiday,” he said, smiling.

Driving drunk people home is actually a lot of fun, he added.

“Everybody is in such great spirits. Taking advantage of something like this, they have a social conscience. You meet a lot of great people,” he said. “Before you know it, it’s two or three in the morning and you’re going home and you just feel really good.”

NDP MLA Bill Estabrooks said that in his time as a school principal, he had given far too many eulogies for young men killed in drunk-driving accidents. He noted one in four road deaths are alcohol-related and lambasted drivers who risk killing friends, family and strangers by making the “stupid” decision to get behind the wheel after getting behind a few drinks.

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