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“It Just Fell In Place.” Dad Surprises Special Needs Son By Learning To Drive School Bus.

Eli was so excited to find out that his dad was now his bus driver.

When a shortage of school bus drivers affected his kids’ school district in San Diego, one dedicated father decided to pick up a second job. Rick Daynes already worked in sales full-time, but he realized that his community and son, Eli, who has both autism and Down syndrome needed him. Since there weren’t enough drivers to go around, the 10-year-old was often over an hour late to class. Thankfully, the 6 a.m. to 9 a.m. bus schedule happened to align with Rick’s free time, making it clear how he could help.

“It was never on my list of things to do, but it just fell in place,” Rick said on ABC’s World News Tonight. “I’m not looking back.”

Rick Daynes became a school bus driver to help his community.
Screengrab from ABC World News Tonight/Facebook

Rick prepared for the job in secret, hoping to surprise Eli by picking him up for school. Today tells us that his rigorous training included courses on driving the 40-foot vehicles as well as administering CPR in case of emergencies. In order to qualify for a job behind the wheel, Rick had to pass tests from the California Department of Education, the Department of Transportation, the Department of Motor Vehicles, and the California Highway Patrol.

Although Rick requested to take on his son’s route, someone was already on it. However, that driver ended up switching just before the California dad’s first day. Finally, on May 3, Rick got up early to officially start his new job as Eli’s bus driver.

“I was so nervous the night before,” said Rick. “It was like Christmas morning.”

When the bus arrived to pick up Eli for school, the boy’s reaction was exactly what his father was hoping for. He jumped into Rick’s arms, so excited that his dad was driving him to school.

Eli was so excited to find out that his dad was now his bus driver.
Screengrab from ABC World News Tonight/Facebook

If there’s one thing Rick has learned from the experience, it’s that we all have the power to change the world around us.

“If you see something in your community that needs to be done, helping your neighbor, whatever,” he said, via ABC News. “Maybe even driving the local school bus. Go out there and get it done.”

Watch the video below to see the beautiful moment when Eli finds out who’s driving him to school. Don’t forget to share!

You can find the source of this story’s featured image here.

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