A 46-year-old wheelchair-bound Missouri man who works as a Walmart greeter had been fascinated with firefighters ever since he was a child, and some local firefighters just took some time out of their day to help the man realize one of his lifelong dreams.
According to KTVI in St. Louis, firefighters from the Eureka Fire Protection District surprised Christopher Echele by showing up at the Walmart on his birthday and making him an honorary member of their department for the day.
After picking up Echele’s mother, the firefighters drove the honoree around the neighborhood in their truck.
“This was amazing,” Echele told the station. “I was shocked.”
“I’ve been a fan of the fire service ever since I was a kid and never really outgrew it,” Echele said. “So, to be able to meet and interact with all these guys is amazing.”
The firefighters had long been aware that Echele was a big supporter of their efforts to keep the community safe, and secretly coordinated with his mother and Walmart managers to surprise him with the honorary gesture for his birthday.
“It means a lot to us, too,” Lt. Steve McKinney, one of the Eureka firefighters, told KTVI. “It’s very important for us to have community members like him backing the Eureka Fire District.”
After taking Echele for a ride in the truck and giving him a firefighter’s helmet to keep, the firefighters told Echele that he was welcome to visit them and hang out at the fire station any time he wanted to do so.
This must have an incredible experience for this man, and it was pretty cool of the firefighters to take time out of their busy day to spend it fulfilling a lifelong dream for this wheelchair-bound Walmart greeter.
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