Last week, my little boy had a very exciting morning. Our friend Derek is a paramedic and he kindly agreed to show my son the ambulances. I kept the news secret until we were on the way, at which point he could hardly contain his excitement. “Do I get to drive it? Can I sit in the ambulance? Will it make a big noise? Does the ambulance go fast?” He chattered non-stop the whole way there.
We arrived at the big station that houses both the ambulances and the fire trucks. My son put on the little red plastic firefighter’s helmet that he got at last year’s fall fair (and wears around the house most days, I might add) and marched toward the station with a purposeful stride. Nothing would hold him back at that point!
Derek showed off the new ambulance, explaining the use of stretchers and body boards. He turned on the flashing lights, deciphered the messages coming over the loudspeaker, and let the little guy sit in the driver’s seat. He got to try on Derek’s helmet – with a real visor, that created no small amount of excitement – and stand on the back of the ambulance, “just like a garbage truck!”
Then, as if all the stars in Heaven combined to make it a truly perfect morning, the firemen next door began a training exercise. The little guy got to see the stabilizing feet come out and the huge ladder extend up into the sky. At that point, he was running around slightly out of control from the overstimulating excitement. The firemen were more than happy to take him on a tour of the station, also letting him sit in the driver’s seat, put on some real gear, and climb over the Zodiac rescue boat.
I had to pry him away from Derek, whose hand he insisted on holding, after our prolonged exploration of every aspect of the station. He collapsed into his car seat, exhausted but still full of questions. I asked which he liked better – ambulances or fire trucks. “I like ambulances the best,” he decided, and promptly fell asleep, red plastic helmet in his arms.