-- A school bus driver has given an early Christmas present to an adoring 23-month-old boy with whom he shares a special bond.
Ryker McFarland loves buses so much that he and his mom Jaclyn make waving to local driver Scott Garner a part of their morning routine. But on Dec. 12, Garner stepped off the bus with an unexpected surprise for the baby.
"We were out as normal and instead of passing by, I noticed the bus was stopping," Jaclyn McFarland of Gilbert, Arizona, told ABC News. "I was confused. I thought, maybe he's a new driver and doesn't know that we come out and wave. He said, 'Well, I noticed you guys are always out here in the morning and I wanted to give him a little Christmas gift if that's OK.' It was just the most unexpected thing. As a parent, it makes a huge impression on you."
McFarland said Ryker has a fascination with buses and fire trucks. Since school began last September, she takes me out to the front porch at 7:02 a.m. -- exactly when the bus passes by their home, she said.
"When it pulls around the corner, Ryker and I always wave," McFarland said. "The bus driver always waves and honks. Just recently, the kids started waving at us too so everyone is just waving at each other and it's just a fun little moment. [Ryker] usually says, 'Bus Bus Bus!' We try to go out everyday except if he's sleeping in. The funny part ... is the bus driver still honks the horn, whether we're out there or not."
Garner, 56, has been operating a bus for the Chandler School District since May, transporting high school students in the morning and elementary kids in the afternoon, he told ABC News.
Garner said Ryker's morning greeting has made his daily route even more enjoyable. So much so, that he decided to get him a gift.
"I couldn't sleep the night before so I got up about 3:30-4," Garner said. "[I] went to a 24-hour Walmart and long and behold, they didn't have a bus. I got to Target and they had one bus left. I just pulled over and I said, 'Hey buddy, I see you out here everyday and it really makes my morning.'"
Garner handed Ryker the present, a toy yellow school bus.
The note attached read:
To: A future bus rider Merry Christmas
From: Mr. Scott
Garner said he felt a personal connection to Ryker since his own son, Grant, now 17, also loved school buses as a child.
Garner invited Ryker and his mom to a bus depot Christmas party on Dec. 22, he said.