About two years ago a road construction company called Knife River started doing some work on our nearest ‘main’ road, the FM1704. Rowan was initially intensely distressed by the disruption it caused and we found ourselves going miles out of our way just to avoid the 2 minute delay whilst we waited for the pilot car.
Then one day for reasons unbeknownst to us his attitude towards the road construction changed. He began to talk and chat with the flaggers (the guys who hold the stop/slow paddles and control the traffic), asking them their names and chatting to them about their day. He was soon a firm favorite with them all, his favorite flagger Julio even going so far as to tell me that Rowan’s visit was the highlight of his day.
It took the company about a year to finish the work but the day did come when they packed up and left. They had become such a fixture in our lives that we all missed them terribly. Rowan became obsessed with watching videos about flaggers and pilot cars and asked insistently where they were now and when they would be back. Eventually in desperation I wrote to Knife River and told them Rowan’s story. They immediately invited us to come and visit their headquarters in Bryan, TX and Rowan had a lovely day the highlight of which was when he was presented with his own hard hat, reflective vest and stop/slow paddle.
Time passed and Rowan continued to talk about and research road construction. By now he had learned the correct set-up of a road construction site and was desperate to get his own advanced warning signs reading, ‘road work ahead’, ‘one lane road ahead’, ‘be prepared to stop’ and ‘flagger ahead’.
I decided to contact another road construction company called N Line, based in Austin, which I knew made their own signs to see if they had any old ones lying around that they would be willing to sell to us. When I rang them up and explained the story they guy said, ‘Oh are you talking about Rowan, we have heard all about him and were hoping you would get in touch, bring him out whenever.’
And so off we went and once again Rowan was showered with more presents including his own set of advanced warning signs. He was thrilled and we were incredibly touched at the kindness of people in this industry. When I thanked them rather profusely at the end I was told ‘It’s no problem m’am, we appreciate his enthusiasm; most people out there hate us because of the disruptions we cause.’
Rowan now has a standing invitation to both Knife River and N Line and will even be given the gigantic treat next month of being allowed to visit a real construction project and ride in the pilot car.
Thank you from the bottom of our hearts to all Rowans’ friends in the road construction industry. You have made a young boy very happy. I hope from now on when anyone reading this blog gets stopped by a flagger you will give them a smile and a wave when you pass them and remember the kindness that they showed to Rowan and to us.