Many a little boy dreams of riding in a tractor or a police car – but a police tractor is beyond the imaginations of most 5-year-olds.
However, Reid Cathcart did not have to imagine, after his school arranged just that for him this month.
The brave Oamaru boy has had a rougher time than most in his first five years, with a serious health setback at the age of 3.
And recently things had become a bit bumpy again, his mother Emma Cathcart said.
Despite the latest news, Mrs Cathcart and husband Peter were doing OK. Reid was not giving them much chance to dwell on things.
“We’re pretty good. He’s got that wee personality that makes you smile.
“He’s an amazing wee boy. He just gets on with life and does it.”
When staff at Weston School were told of Reid’s latest issues, they wanted to do something special as a “wee pick-me-up” for him.
School secretary Nic Loe had heard of the police tractor and knew Reid loved tractors.
She enlisted the help of principal Deidre Senior, who phoned Oamaru Police to see if they could help make something happen.
“They said, ‘well, actually, the police tractor’s coming to Oamaru – it’s heading over to the Wanaka Show – so we can do this ride as soon as’.”
The morning of the ride, the Cathcarts detoured from the usual school route and Reid knew something was up when they got to the police station.
“We pulled up at the police station. He said, ‘what are we doing here, Mum?’.”
Reid, his mum and big brother Cruise (8) were greeted by Senior Sergeant Jason McCoy and Sergeant Blair Wilkinson and taken on a tour of the station.
“We ended up in the back in the car park and we spotted this big police tractor.”
Reid was pretty happy when he found out he was going to ride it to school. There was only one child’s seat, so he jumped in with Sgt Wilkinson and the others followed in their car.
“He was really excited and was pretty much telling him how to drive it,” Mrs Cathcart said.
“He said his favourite bit was turning on the lights and sirens going into the school grounds.
The whole school was waiting for Reid when he drove in the school gates.
Mrs Cathcart said a “special thanks” to the police and to Mrs Loe and Mrs Senior for organising the trip.
It was a bit of wait and see for Reid now.
Mrs Cathcart said he had been “amazing” and had few problems apart from being a bit tired occasionally. He was still going to school every day.
“He’s still being a busy boy. He’s always doing something, always communicating and always having a chat to somebody. He’s just an outgoing wee boy.”
Reid turns 6 next week and is having his first birthday party in three years tomorrow.
He missed out on his fourth birthday party following surgery, and could not celebrate his fifth last year due to lockdown, so his parents were determined to make this a good one.