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.