Eight-year-old Oliver Johnson loves trucks. Like, really, REALLY loves them. While some kids his age like playing with trucks, Oliver spends all of his time obsessing over trucks.
“Ollie knows every single name of every single truck and every single truck company. He gets the trucking magazine every month,” his mother, Katherine, said.
It’s the one thing that is sure to put a smile on his sweet face. And smiling is something this lonely little boy doesn’t do very often.
Oliver struggles to make friends and with his birthday coming up and no friends to invite to a party, Katherine knew she needed to do something special.
So, she turned to Facebook for help. And Facebook? Delivered.
A Mom’s Desperate Plea for Her Lonely Son
Katherine posted an ad on her local Hamilton, New Zealand buy and sell Facebook group offering $50 to anyone willing to take Oliver for a ride in their truck for his 8th birthday. She hoped that one truck driver would take her up on her offer.
Turns out, one did…and he rallied the troops to turn his 1 into 65.
Within an hour of posting, Barry Hart, the owner of Hart Haulage Ltd. in Auckland, New Zealand, answered the ad. And then he placed his own ad on his business Facebook page, looking for fellow truckers to form a birthday convoy.
“I (sic) hoping to help organise a convoy for a young fella who turns 8 on Sunday 9th July. chatting with his family he loves trucks but feels like he’s alone in the world. So we wanted to join with an already strong number of our friends in the industry to see if we can make Ollie’s birthday, one to remember,” Hart wrote.
The response from the trucking community was overwhelming. So overwhelming, in fact, that Hart had to cap the number of drivers for the event.
65 Truckers Rally to Make 8-Year-Old’s Birthday One He’ll Never Forget
On the day of the convoy, 65 trucks lined up to surprise Oliver. Some of the drivers traveled more than 75 miles at a personal expense of $500-$600 to be there. Not one asked for a penny in return.
“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,” said Hart. “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.”
“When it comes to kids, this community, these truckers will always come out.”
Ollie’s dad Simon Johnson said the family was “literally blown away” by the number of trucks that turned up.
But it wasn’t just “truckies” who came out for the little boy. A local business, C&R Developments, hosted the birthday bash and Service Foods set up a free food truck and fed the nearly 200 drivers, friends, and families who attended the event. Additionally, a woman named Lisa donated a truck-inspired birthday cake.
To top it off, well-wishers from around the world sent birthday greetings and gifts.
As for Ollie? He was on “cloud nine” and couldn’t stop smiling.
The Power of Community
The impact of this heartwarming event extends far beyond a single birthday celebration. Ollie found not only a group of friends but also a sense of belonging within the trucking community.
A community that he dreams of being an active member of one day.
For the truckers, who are no strangers to feelings of isolation and loneliness, it was a generous act of kindness. But for Ollie, a lonely little boy, it meant the world.
“To be perfectly honest, today has meant more than we could have ever imagined,” his dad said.
“How one little post on Facebook can go to what has been achieved today is absolutely phenomenal, and ‘thank you’ just doesn’t cover what’s happened today.”
No child should ever have to experience living life without friends and it’s heartbreaking to think that this is Ollie’s reality. But thanks to an amazing community of truckers who were willing to step up and claim him as their own, hopefully, he’ll never truly feel alone again.
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