For his son’s fourth birthday, Chris Stanley, RDO Equipment Co. Sales Manager in Eugene/Portland, put his unique spin on a popular socially distanced celebration and witnessed a sense of family in more ways than one.
Following in his dad’s footsteps, Chris’s son, Wyatt, is an avid fan of tree care equipment. He regularly greets his dad at the end of the workday, meeting him in the driveway to inspect the stump grinders or mini skid steers Chris has towed home for the night.
“He gets pretty upset if I get home and didn’t bring anything with me,” Chris said with a laugh.
While thinking of a safe way to celebrate Wyatt’s birthday, Chris’s mind turned to the celebratory parades that have made their way across communities and around social media, where drivers pass slowly by, waving and honking horns.
Chris decided to give his idea a shot. He sent a text to a group of regular customers in Eugene to gauge their interest in a special tree care parade for Wyatt. Not knowing exactly what to expect, Chris was floored by the response.
“They weren’t just willing to be involved, they were excited to do it,” Chris said. “Some told me they wouldn’t miss it, and I even got a few calls from guys who couldn’t make it, apologizing and saying how bad they felt. I was humbled to see how serious it was to them.”
On the day of the parade, Wyatt stood on the front lawn, equipped with a microphone and speaker to eagerly thank each participant as they went by (and express playful disapproval of a few who towed Bandit equipment).
Wyatt was blown away, later saying the best part of his birthday was seeing all the trucks and even suggesting to Chris that they do a similar parade every week.
For Chris, the huge smile on Wyatt’s face meant even more than it showed. For the group of customers, all competitors, to join up in such a way goes beyond simple business relationships and into the realm of family connection that’s been built over the years.
“I can’t take the credit for this,” he said. “It was a team effort. The team here in Eugene takes great care of our customers, and it really shows when they’re willing to donate time from their day just to make a four-year-old laugh.”
While the chippers and grinders will be what Wyatt remembers most about the parade, the partnership, strong relationships, and simple desire of people to come together to do something good are what truly stole the show.
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