June 8, 2011 -- For a teenager, nothing is more mortifying than a parent. Unless that is a parent in a costume waving to you as you pass by with your friends on the school bus.
That would make Dale Price a top candidate to be the most embarrassing dad in America.
Dale Price, of American Fork, Utah, has spent the past school year waving at his high school son's school bus every day while dressed in costumes as a lampshade, Elvis, and Santa, just to name a few.
The mortification for Price's son, Rain, began the first day of his sophomore year of high school when Price's wife, and Rain's mother, Rochelle, realized that for the first time ever the school bus would drop off Rain on their street.
"The bus route changed," Dale said today on "Good Morning America." "For the first time it came down our street, so we went out to wave."
"After that, it was game on."
Rain was not quite as amused as his dad when he looked out the window of his school bus those first days.
"Horrified," Rain said on "GMA," remembering his initial reaction. "Just embarrassment."
That reaction was all the prodding Dale needed to turn an embarrassing wave into a 170 day, yearlong ritual of embarrassment for his teenage son.
Since that fall day Dale has waved at his son every day in a different outlandish costume.
"After the first day I overheard Rain pleading to his mom, 'Mom, please, please, please do not let Dad wave at the bus tomorrow," Dale said.
"So I heard that and I said, 'Son, I love you and I'm going to go back and wave at the bus tomorrow,' and it snowballed from there."
Costumed Dad Embarrasses Teen Son Every Day for 170 Days
Instead of waving at the bus in the afternoon, the dad dressed up each morning and sent his son off with a dose of morning humiliation.
Dale's costumes started out modestly. The second day of school he showed up in a football helmet and jersey, but the months that followed saw him dressed as everything from a giant chicken to a blushing bride, Batgirl, a superhero, a Star Trek devotee, and the King of Pop, Michael Jackson.
"At first it was shocking and mortifying," Raid said of that initial view of his dad from the school bus window. "The last few months of school were when it turned from embarrassing to funny."
But Rain's good-sport attitude towards his dad's costumed antics only extends so far.
"The 'Little Mermaid' was the lowest," Rain told "GMA." "Those [the cross-dressing costumes] are the only ones that have ever scarred me."
"When you see him cross-dressing," he said, "you can't expect a normal response."
Dale's most elaborate costume is also his favorite. It was Day 167. He brought an old toilet bowl onto the neighborhood street and sat on it reading a newspaper, waving to the bus as it rolled by.
"It came out of the blue and I laughed when I thought of it," he said. "It wasn't something you were going to see every day."
America's Most Embarrassing Dad
Not content to just make the ritual a family memory, Rochelle began to photograph each day's outfit and post on Facebook for their extended family and friends to see.
The Facebook postings grew into a blog, appropriately named"Wave At The Bus," that Rochelle updated each day with commentary and behind-the-scenes peeks of how the day's outfit came together.
Attention from the blog, and the outrageous costumes, has turned Dale, a stay-at-home dad, into a local celebrity in their suburban town just outside Salt Lake City.
But they have also made the father of three, and his antics, into an online phenomenon.
The family's blog has received more than 2 million page views, includes a Twitter feed for comments and now also features a donation tab where followers can donate money to what the family is calling "Rain's College/Therapy Fund."
The blog's behind-the-scenes tidbits tell readers that Dale relied on old family Halloween costumes - the family coordinates their Halloween costumes around a theme each year - and borrowed outfits from neighbors to keep expenses for the yearlong costume extravaganza under $50 in all for costumes and props.
"Anybody can walk around their house, find things in the garage or the basement, and put things together," Dale said on "GMA," of his cost-saving approach.
"When I got desperate I put out a call to neighbors," he said, "and, let me tell you, you never know what your neighbors have."
The tidbits also reveal the highly-detailed, rigid schedule Dale must follow in order to pull of the stunt each day.
As his son leaves to catch the bus at 7:10 a.m., Dale is dressed in just the outlines of his costume to maintain the surprise. He then has just four minutes, before the bus pulls away, to transform himself into the day's character, making in onto the street just in time to send Rain off with a big, costumed wave.
"He's the one we do it for, out of love," Dale said of Rain. "He'll have this around when we're not here anymore."
After appearances as the scarecrow from the "Wizard of Oz," a San Diego Chargers football player and Anakin Skywalker from "Star Wars," Dale chose a "peg leg" pirate costume for his final send-off to Rain on the last day of school.
The pirate costume was a favorite of Dale's that he had reinvented throughout the year, as well as a nod to his own, real-life prosthetic leg, but it will likely be the last.
"When you have a built-in costume," said Dale, pointing to his prosthetic, "you can always go back to one, steadfast costume."
"I wanted to end as a pirate," he said. "That's how the kids see me, as a pirate."
And his dad's fun spirit, whether as a pirate or just-plain-old dad, is something Rain says the world could use more of.
"In the end, it was just fun," Rain said on "GMA." "I was just laughing on the bus the whole way."