KINBURN – What started as a friendly honk roughly a year ago, has turned in to a friendship and a Thanksgiving event at the West Carleton Kids Korner daycare, hosted by truck driver Yves Lafond and sponsored by the Pontiac County transportation company he works for.
Roughly a year ago, during the height of COVID-19, Lafond would leave from Erwin Transport based in Luskville, QC, cross the Quyon Ferry, and head to M Con Products: Precast Concrete Infrastructure in the Carp Road Corridor, four times a day.
Each time he passed the Kids Corner located at the intersection of Kinburn Side Road and Carp Road. He started to say hi.
“Just honk the horn and make the kids happy,” Lafond told West Carleton Online Friday (Oct. 8) morning.
Anyone who was ever a kid knows the international sign to encourage a friendly honk from a passing truck driver and Lafond’s route takes him right by the daycare centre when the ferry is open.
After a while, once in a while, he would pull the big transport truck over and say hi.
“They made me a big card and gave me a Carp Creamery Custom Ice Cream gift card,” Lafond said.
Yesterday, with the financial support of Erwin Transport, Lafond hosted a Thanksgiving celebration for the roughly 60 to 70 kids between 12 months and three-years-old (and staff) at the daycare centre.
“They’re even paying my workday for this,” Lafond said of Erwin Transport owners Bob and his son Eric Erwin.
And Lafond brought friends.
Santa Claus and Mrs. Claus dropped by. Because their reindeer are on vacation this time of year, Michel Allen, owner of Elevage Fabie Farm on Hwy. 148 in Pontiac County, brought his Canadian-breed horse Une-Chance to transport the king and queen of Christmas cheer around.
Each child at the daycare, even those who weren’t present, received a gift. Following that, a Thanksgiving feast with Happy Times Pizza.
But of course, the favourite of the kids was Lafond and his big truck.
“Oh, they absolutely loved it,” early childhood education Victoria Gagnon told West Carleton Online. “We’ve been telling them about it to get them excited, but we didn’t tell them about Santa. They all got to open gifts with Santa, and they really enjoyed that.”’
Aside for the traffic on the West Carleton corridor, there’s not a lot going on outside the daycare centre.
“We don’t get many days like this out here,” Gagnon said. “We were all in tears when we received the donation from Erwin Transport. All the families were super-happy to participate and those who couldn’t make it, wanted lots of photos.”
Lafond couldn’t be happier to participate, recognizing the challenges youth all over the world are facing in the new reality of COVID-19.
“It makes my day,” he said. “I knew it was going to come. I said at the beginning of the year I was going to do something, I just didn’t know what it was going to be.”
But now that the day is here, he said, he couldn’t be happier with the way everything turned out.
“You never know what to expect,” Lafond said. “I knew there was going to be some happy kids. Even Santa was a little nervous.”
And for the kids at the West Carleton Kids Corner, the ritual of Lafond passing by in his big truck has grown into a friendship.
“The honking of a horn has become so special,” Gagnon said. “It’s been an amazing day.”