The world of tow truck driving can be competitive, even described as “cutthroat” by some. But on Saturday, a group of them came together just to put a smile on a little boy’s face. John Henry Patton, a Walker Elementary student who turns 9 on March 18, wants to be a tow truck driver when he grows up.
He has autism and several health problems, and has loved tow trucks since he was young, his mother Cindy Patton said. “He’s always happy, no matter how much pain he’s in,” his mother Cindy Patton said Saturday. “He always has a smile on his face.” On Saturday, about a dozen tough-looking tow truck drivers proved themselves to be softies. They all met at the Cobb Theater parking lot before forming a procession and traveling to Henry’s birthday party at Fun Factory on Southside Drive.
Henry clapped and waved as the fleet arrived — an impressive sight with roaring engines, flashing lights and chorus a of back-up beepers. He had a chance to climb in the wreckers’ cabs, operate cranes and other equipment. The last few months haven’t been easy for the family. Henry’s father, Larry Patton, died unexpectedly after complications from pneumonia in December. He was 49. And doctors are now determining whether Henry has juvenile arthritis. He also has epilepsy, gastrointestinal problems and severe attention deficit hyperactivity disorder. The drivers presented Henry with a toy tow truck that his father had bought before he died. All the drivers had signed it. “He really deserves to have a fun day,” said Julie Kizziah, whose family operates a towing business. She initially asked some of her family members to show up at the party, but decided to post the plans on Facebook. She was overwhelmed by the response. “I’m just amazed,” she said. “All these guys here have on different uniforms, but right now they’re all the same. These guys are amazing. It’s competitive, it’s a cutthroat world, but when it comes down to it, they’re all a big family.”