The Heartwarming Story Behind This Miniature School Bus

Building a one-of-a-kind ride with "Pépère" was a special treat for this birthday boy!

My son John loves school buses. He has been captivated by these bright yellow, wheeled marvels with their lights, levered doors, swing-out stop signs and back-up beepers ever since his older brother began attending school many moons ago. John’s grandfather (my dad), affectionately known as “Pépère,” decided to build John his own school bus for his 15th birthday. It was not intended to be just another gift that would be presented to John all wrapped up; when Pépère told John that together they would build him his very own bus, John was all smiles. John has Fragile X syndrome, and even more than school buses, he loves to be a good helper.

Painting The Miniature School BusChantal Purdy
John and his grandfather (above) spent lots of quality time together building this awesome school bus!

An old riding lawnmower served as the base for John’s bus. They removed the broken mower deck and repaired the tires. They then proceeded to build the body, using remnants of wood, plywood and tin from Pépère’s handyman projects, as well as bits and pieces from various sources such as an old mirror, a handle from an old tool, and scrap-metal bars. Other than the yellow paint, the stop sign and the lettering on the bus, this project was made entirely of recycled materials. The time spent together with his Pépère, along with John’s sense of accomplishment and pride of ownership, are priceless!

Magic School BusChantal Purdy

John loves to use his bus to run errands between home and Grandmama’s, and was happy to oblige when he was asked to lead his former elementary school in last year’s fall fair parade!

Next, check out the heartwarming story behind this car’s one-of-a-kind paint job.

Originally Published in Our Canada