10-year-old's canceled birthday leads to miles-long truck parade

Published: Apr. 4, 2020 at 5:49 PM EDT
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Covid-19 isn't just closing businesses and canceling events, for a boy in Fanning Springs it canceled his birthday. We'll show you how a simple call-out on social media by his mother turned into quite the parade, all for Gabriel.

TV20's Landon Harrar reported, "this road is normally pretty quiet, but a mothers request to have just a few local trucks drive past her house to help make 10-year-old boys canceled birthday special blossomed into what I'd say was easily more than 250 vehicles in a parade bringing this road to a life it's never seen before."

Gabriel's tenth birthday is a special one because when he was born, doctors didn't give him long to live.

His grandmother Paula McDonald explained, "he just turned 10, he wasn't supposed to be a year old. He has a 6th chromosome deletion which stops his growth so he's a little guy and we're just excited he made it to 10 years."

Because Gabriel is immunocompromised his mother came up with an idea to indulge his love of trucks, and once it hit facebook it quickly went viral.

John Desilet has been a truck driver for 3 years and explains how he found out about the parade. "I saw the post on Facebook, I got shared in it and tagged in it and it inspired me. I shared it and figured if I could get 4 or 5 trucks to drive by this little boy's house it would be something he'd remember for the rest of his life."

McDonald added, "We expected about maybe 15 or 20 trucks and it ended up being over 200. It was overwhelming, it was amazing we love our town and how the community came together for this little boy."

People came from all over to get the chance to give Gabriel a little honk, a wave, and even a few burnouts.

Desilet said, "I haul cows, and I unloaded cows in North Texas on Thursday afternoon and made it back in time for this."

Russ Sweem who has been a truck driver for 38 years says this is the first time he's ever been a part of something like this. "This little boy needs it, it makes his day and it makes mine."

So many vehicles of almost every variety showed up they actually started the parade early because, at the gathering area, there was no more room to park.

McDonald said, "I just wish I could personally get to each and every single one of them and thank them for what they did today it was amazing."

And even though Gabriel was a little overwhelmed by the noise of the parade, that didn't stop him waving back to every vehicle in the line which took nearly an hour to reach the end.