Car donations come in all shapes and sizes, and still, the occasional donation still manages to gives those of us at Kars4Kids a delightful surprise. Such was the case with this miniature firetruck. The firetruck got banged up in a car accident, but as you can see from the photos, is no less adorable for having been somewhat damaged in a car accident. The provenance of this unusual donation—how it came to be—is also interesting.
It seems that retired firefighter Robert E. Bruggema Jr., of El Cajon, California, decided to do something really nice, now that he was no longer busy fighting fires, and had time to indulge a hobby. Fireman Rob decided to buy a Daihatsu SUV and turn it into a mini firetruck for the purpose of bringing joy—for free—to local children’s birthday parties. This particular model, the Daihatsu Rocky 5sp, purchased in fire engine red, was perfect for this purpose—just made to be converted into a miniature version of a real firetruck, complete with fire hose, ladder, and all the other equipment you’d expect to find on a genuine fire engine.
The Daihatsu Rocky—a play on the Japanese:ダイハツ・ロッキー (Daihatsu Rokkī), started out as a ladder-frame-based mini SUV, sold in Japan and international markets between 1989 and 2002. Bruggema’s firetruck makeover of a 1989 Rocky was just the first step in carrying out his ultimate vision of giving kids a chance to see what it’s like to be a fireman. Once the makeover was complete, Rob took the miniature fire engine around to various events and parties, offering small children an exciting ride around the block in an honest-to-goodness firetruck.
The “little fire engine that could” gave kids a chance to see and touch all the equipment that real firemen use to fight fires. That’s a dream come true for many small children, and it’s one that deserves encouragement. Because everyone knows that firefighters are heroes. And it’s a wonderful thing for a child to aspire to be a hero.
Firetruck Donation Inspiration
Having fulfilled its purpose, what could be better than for the little firetruck to keep on inspiring children through the donation process? Car donation, after all, provides the wherewithal to fund our many educational and mentoring programs for children. The proceeds from donating a car to Kars4Kids also translates to offering emotional support to the whole family and to parents as they raise their children—arguably the hardest job in the world.
It’s sad to think that birthday parties will have to go on without their favorite fire engine. And of course, our donor Rob is sad to think that Rocky’s time has come to an end. Those of us discovering this poignant story for the first time, on the other hand, can’t help but feel good to that someone was out there who cared enough to do such a selfless act for children–someone like Robert Bruggema. We also love knowing that even when it was time for “Rocky” to retire, Fireman Rob found a way to continue to help children dream and aspire to be the best they can be, through the process of donating his beloved mini fire engine to our favorite charity: Kars4Kids.