Monday, August 11, 2014

Firefighters are some of the best people ever

Stereotypes are typically not a good thing, but I've got to say: Firefighters are some of the most warm, welcoming people I have ever met. This I know because we are meeting a whole lot of them lately. Every time our family visits someplace new, we hit the local firehouse. Max insists on it.

This weekend, we did a road trip to Pennsylvania. We passed a fire station in Scranton around 7:15 p.m., and a group of guys were hanging out in front. Dave pulled over and I jumped out with Max; he prefers to do firehouse tours with me.

"I'm Fireman Max!" said Max as he trotted past the entrance toward a fire engine.

"I'm Firefighter George!" said one of the men, following us inside. "How old are you?"

"Eleven!" Max said. Then he told him where he was from, and that he was going to be a fireman—but that he had to be eighteen.

George gave Max the grand tour, showing him the different engines and their compartments. He lifted Max up so he could sit at the wheel. He smiled as Max pretended to slide down the pole and when Max told him that his favorite engine at home is number 31.

My favorite part of every visit is when Max makes the swishing sound that extinguishers make; it's really accurate. America's Got Talent, perhaps?

"I want to be a fireman when I grow up!" Max told him, I translated and George said, "You will be a very good firefighter!"

This is exactly how things have gone every single fire station we have visited: The men (we have yet to meet a lady firefighter) talk with Max, gladly show him around, take care to understand him and encourage him. Over at our local firehouse, every week they let Max write his name on the assignments board.

These guys have significant, serious jobs. I've wondered whether Max's glee about the work they do would ever offend any of them, but they take it in stride. Plenty of kids have a thing for firefighters and to them, Max is just another obsessed kid. I like that, Max being like every other kid.

George apologized that he didn't have any paraphernalia to give Max, and I said that wasn't necessary, unless he happened to have an extra hose. Kidding! I'm getting this Firefighter Hose Backpack for Max for Halloween:

When we headed back out, Max wandered over to the bench where the other firefighters were sitting.

"Hi!" said Max.

"Hi, Max!" they said.

"No!" said Max. "Fireman Max!"

"Hi, Fireman Max!" they said.

Max plopped down on the bench next to a big guy, then patted his belly. We are still working on personal space and he likes to pat people when he wants their attention. The guy grinned at him.

"I want to be a fireman when I grow up!" Max told him, and I translated.

"That's great!" he said. "I wanted to be a fireman when I grew up, and now I am!"

"You still haven't grown up!" one of the other guys said, and they all cracked up.

We hung out for a few more minutes, then it was time to head out.

"Hey, Max, can I have a high-five?" Firefighter John asked. Max obliged, with a round for everyone.

"Bye!" said Max.

"Bye, Fireman Max!" the guys said in unison.

They waved as we drove off. Max had a happy smile on his face and I did, too.

It's so great to feel welcome this way.


  1. I love this. Yay, firefighters!

  2. Love this! Afraid I can't stop myself from being a little flippant and saying I wish I had a child who wanted to hang out at firestations... all those gorgeous, helpful, caring men sound fab ;) I tried it with my ASD girl once (Brownies trip) but they didn't hold her attention sadly - she'd had enough before they brought the hose out. My eldest loved that bit though - I can share the hose photo with you if you like?! Oh and the patting bit, I get that. It's usually boobs or cheeks for my girl - anything totally inappropriate goes though, if they don't pay her attention straight away :D x

  3. Firefighting is one of the most glamorous occupations out there. They save lives on an almost daily basis. If I were to have a job of that nature, I would be an EMT.

  4. wonderful that firefighters are so welcoming.

  5. Next time you're anywhere near Hawthorne, New Jersey, stop over - we've got several fire stations!

  6. What a sweet story! I totally agree-- firefighters really are some of the best people ever! Earlier this year, I worked as a full-time job coach for a 24-year-old guy with ASD, and we volunteered every Monday afternoon at the local fire station (in Carrboro, NC). Those guys were just some of the NICEST people I have ever met! They were beyond generous and genuinely enjoyed getting to hang out with us. My client particularly enjoyed getting to wash the trucks-- that might be something your local fire station would let Max do!

  7. I'm not a regular reader but ended up here from pinterest (I have a child with some very mild SPD issues) and you honestly made my day. Getting to see the compassion and love all humans are capable of is a true delight. Please accept my sincere thanks. Best wishes to your special family.

  8. I love this, so much! Especially since my brother is a firefighter and right now is on his way to fight a wild fire.
    Thanks for sharing!

  9. Firefighters are awesome! I love that they're so cool and welcoming and take the time to make kids feel great and included in their firehouses!! Also Max will LOVE that backpack!!


Thanks for sharing!

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