‘He had an amazing day from start to finish’, so said the mum of Rhys Fuller after he became a fireman for the day at Bognor Fire Station on Friday.
Young Rhys featured on the Bognor Observer’s front page last week after a stranger called the disabled youngster by a grossly offensive term.
Demonstrating that the community won’t tolerate that type of abuse, crew manager Simon Woodland saw mum Amy Standen’s viral Facebook post and invited him along.
Amy said: “Rhys had an amazing day from start to finish and I am so grateful to Simon in particular, as they made our boy smile. He was interested and focused on everything because of the way Simon (Woody) was with him and let Rhys lead the way in what he wanted to do.
“Firstly Rhys decided on arrival he was going to run across the car park to two fire engines. Woody said ‘this is Rhys’ day, he can lead the way’.”
“Then we were shown where all the crew’s uniform was and Rhys made his daddy wear one of the helmets, Rhysy wasn’t quite ready to wear it himself.
“We were then shown all the equipment that the crew use and some more engines, Rhys was very excited. He was then lifted into the driver’s seat along with Paddington the teddy that came along for the day.”
Rhys’ favourite part of the day was using the hose and ‘trying his best to soak everyone’, Amy said.
“Woody then took us on to the office where he had more surprises for rhys,” Amy said.
“A fireman coat and hat to take home, sweets, a medal, a certificate and colouring sheets. Rhys was very pleased with his medal.
“The kindness and patience Woody and Gavin showed towards my boy was something we will all never forget. When you have heroes like these guys making Rhys smile and laugh like they did you forget about the small minority in this world that are vile through and through.”