A mother offered $50 for any truck driver willing to bring her son for a ride in their truck on his eighth birthday on July 9. She noticed that his boy who loves trucks was feeling lonely and a truck ride might cheer him up on his special day. Little did she know, not only one truck driver would heed her call, but over 60!
Young Oliver Johnson from Hamilton, New Zealand is obsessed with trucks. He knows the names and manufacturers of trucks and even every trucking company. He hopes to be a truck driver himself someday. His mother, Katherine, hoped that a fun ride with a truck would be the best birthday gift.
Katherine’s social media post was seen by Barry Hart, owner of Hart Haulage Ltd in Auckland. He decided to make the ride more special for Oliver and organized a whole convoy. He thought about 10-15 trucks would come to the event, but word spread and more than 60 truck drivers signed up to be part of young Ollie’s convoy. They were volunteering their time and shouldering the costs for a complete stranger.
“Every one of these truckies that are doing this, and there are probably 10 trucks at least that are coming from Auckland, those guys, it will cost them $500-600 to get that truck down there, do their thing, and go away, and not one of them is asking for anything,” Hart told the NZ Herald.
Many wanted to help the celebrations. People sent birthday gifts and even a truck-shaped cake to Ollie. Some truck drivers travelled more than 120km to take part and Ollie got to choose which truck to ride on.
“I just saw that there was a kid who didn’t feel like he had friends and didn’t feel like he had a community around him,” Hart said. “I wanted to make sure that, and I would like to hope that every kid knows, that there is a community and people out there that will back them and stand beside them.”
Hart called authorities to help manage traffic since the convoy would turn out to be like a parade of trucks. On Ollie’s birthday, 65 trucks rolled into the Hart Haulage yard to help make a kid feel special.
“Our thing is just about trying to help a community, help kids, or even adults, who are just suffering and if a truck can make them smile…well, I’ve got 12 of them, so let’s see what we can do,” Hart said.
Katherine and Ollie were over the moon because of the birthday surprise.
“I would like to say a massive thank you from the bottom of my – and my husband’s – heart and for giving up your time,” she said. “[I] just can’t get over the community…how wonderful everybody’s been.”