Dakota Cadd is a teenager who has a real passion for trucks, and one day, he decided he would try to get a truck driver’s attention. But, nothing could have prepared him for what that truck driver decided to in return.
This teenager suffers from Dandy-Walker syndrome and cerebral palsy, and as a result of his disabilities, requires a wheelchair for mobility. The young boy is cared for by his adopted parents, who gave him a sweet nickname that he now mostly goes by.
Speaking to Channel 3000, Peggy Cadd, Dakota’s mother, explained the origin of her son’s nickname. She said, “We started to call him Bubba, because we wanted him to gain some weight, and it worked. He’s a character, he’s a fighter, he never gives up.”
Peggy and Rick Cadd adopted Bubba when he was just nine months old, and he is one of 14 adopted children. Bubba lives with his parents and six of his siblings in a house that overlooks Wisconsin Highway 26.
Now, a lot of children have passions and go through phrases of being obsessed with a particular toy or game. And Bubba is no different, except that luckily his home offered him the perfect spot to enjoy his love of trucks.
Bubba would often sit in his backyard, watch the trucks go by on the highway and signal the drivers to honk their horns for him. One day, when he was in his usual spot, his mother noticed something that was totally unexpected.
While Bubba was sitting in the yard, one of the truckers pulled over, got out of his truck and threw something over the fence to Bubba. Not only had this trucker noticed Bubba, he wanted to thank Bubba for waving the truckers by.
So this generous trucker decided to give Bubba a present. “I picked up the bag and the first thing I saw was a little truck. So I went up to Dakota and said, ‘Hey Bubba, your truckers gave you a present’,” said Peggy.
Peggy was so overwhelmed by the gift that she decided to post a photo of Bubba with his new toy truck, in his new T-shirt and hat on Facebook. The post thanked the mystery driver and explained how happy the gift made Bubba.
But that’s not all. As a result of the post going viral, which to date has received more than 3,000 reactions and has been shared more than 1,500 times, more truck drivers decided that they too wanted to show their appreciation for Bubba.
CH Hall Trucking driver Mark King’s kind deed inspired former truck driver Jeremy Wallenkamp to create the 18 Wheels for Bubba Facebook group, which now has 2,381 members. Wallenkamp then decided to give Bubba an even bigger surprise.
Wallenberg said, “I asked his mother if we could throw a small birthday party for him. I was hoping to get five to 10 trucks and cook a couple packs of brats. After the first post, I had five to 10 trucks in a minute. A day later, we had 100 trucks. I never expected this.”
Truckers from all over the country came to Schilberg Park in Milton, Wisconsin to celebrate Bubba’s 16th birthday. The party was kept a secret from Bubba, though, and it wasn’t until he arrived in a limo that he realized that all these people were there to wish him a happy birthday.
And how did the celebration go? Jeremy Wallenkamp 1,000 people joined the party, bringing the teenager presents and giving him birthday hugs. A video uploaded to YouTube by Exploring America shows the crowds and trucks who waited to greet Bubba.
It’s amazing to think that this all started because one man decided to stop his truck for Bubba. But why had he done that? “I’ve always had a soft spot for children in wheelchairs, probably because I grew up with a sister in our home who was handicapped,” King told CBS Chicago.
During the celebration, Bubba was named an honorary member of two organizations for truck drivers, the Owner-Operated Independent Drivers Association and Dairyland Diesel. He was also named a Wish Kid by the Make-A-Wish Foundation.
One driver, Scott Krogh, was so moved by the event that he took to Facebook to thank the organizers for the day. He said, “So many truck drivers and regular citizens come together to celebrate someone they didn’t know. I was moved to tears so many times.”
The fact that all these people came together to celebrate a young boy’s birthday is truly touching, especially, when that boy has disabilities. And even more so, when Bubba used to sit in his yard watching the highway, he could never have expected this reaction.
His mother, Peggy, can’t thank the truck drivers enough for a day her son will never forget. She said, “After it was over, my husband (Rick Cadd) and I talked about how many people were there and the sacrifices they had to make to be at our son’s birthday.”
Peggy continued, “Dakota has disabilities. We think he’s perfect, but we don’t always get that reaction. It wasn’t that way on Saturday. Everybody accepted him for who he is. He loves trucks, and they embraced him for that.”