On any weekday morning, you can drive through the parking lot at A Kid’s Place and notice the window of the toddler classroom. There’s nothing terribly impressive about this window, but what sets it apart from all the other windows is that you’ll see a small face pressed up against it. This face, with the big brown eyes and shy smile, is watching for a truck. The Gordon Food Service semi truck is his favorite, but he watches for any truck at all to roll by. UPS truck, sanitation truck, office supply truck, A/C repair truck…all are held in the highest regard when it comes to vehicles. Ms. Cathy reminds him that the Gordon Food truck only delivers on Friday, but this little boy keeps one eye on the window just in case the schedule changes and the truck shows up early. It’s not likely, but one can’t be too careful.
His name is Shaun. Shaun is three years old and resides at A Kid’s Place with his brother and sister. Shaun experienced terrible neglect in his short life before being placed at A Kid’s Place, but once he felt confident in his safety he began to blossom. No one had told him how smart he was, but he is one brilliant young man! He picks up on things very quickly, and one thing that fascinates him is how powerful trucks are. He is quick to explain how much larger the tires are on a truck, how hard it is to climb all the way up into the cab, how loud the muffler is when the driver steps on the gas. Perhaps the trucks signify a safety to Shaun; in a truck, you can be powerful. No one can hurt you or make you do something you don’t want to do.
Ms. Cathy explained to Shaun that trucks also have powerful horns, but Shaun said he’d never heard one. “Just pull your arm like this,” she told him. “There’s a cord up beside the driver’s window, and when he pulls the cord the horn will blow. If you wave to him this way, he’ll know you want him to blow the horn.” That Friday, Shaun stood at the window and waited for the Gordon Food truck to back into the parking lot. He waved his arm and gestured valiantly, but the driver didn’t see him. Shaun was crestfallen, but not deterred. The following week, he tried again. He waved his arm in a large, sweeping motion, signifying that the driver should blow the horn, but no one saw him standing in the window.
But soon word got around campus of Shaun’s mission, and things started to happen! Mr. Jeff, our Property Manager, talked to the driver and explained how Shaun looked up to him. If there was any possibility that he could acknowledge a little boy waiting in the window, it would be very appreciated. Mr. Jeff told Ms. Cathy, who made an effort to watch out the window as well and that Friday, when the Gordon Food Service truck pulled into the parking lot, they were ready. Ms. Cathy took Shaun to the kitchen to meet the driver, who shook the little boy’s hand and asked if he was behaving himself. Assured that he was a good boy, the driver promised that some day he would show Shaun what it looked like way up high in the cab, but that day he had more stops to make and had to be on his way. As he pulled out of the parking lot, Ms. Cathy stood at the front door to the administration building, settled Shaun on her hip and raised him into the air so the driver could see him. The massive semi truck rumbled past, then the hiss of the air brakes sounded. Shaun pumped his arm furiously as the driver turned to look at him, then slowly reached up and pulled the cord that sounded the horn.
Shaun covered his ears and beamed, a smile on a tiny face that lit up the parking lot. It many have been only the tiniest of gestures for the truck driver, but the impact it made on one small boy can’t be measured. Perhaps Shaun won’t remember his time at A Kid’s Place. Hopefully he won’t remember the trauma that put him here. But it’s a safe assumption that Shaun will never forget the truck driver who took the time to notice one small boy. One small moment in time; one small gesture…one powerful truck driver…one happy boy.