A local tree trimming company helped make a child’s unique dream come true this past weekend when they showed up to surprise him on his fifth birthday with a bucket truck and a wood chipper and gave him the VIP experience of a lifetime.
“Since Christopher was two, he has been obsessed with tree service companies and the fleet of trucks that are at each job,” Kristina Petrilli, Christopher’s mom, reported on her Facebook page after his birthday party on Saturday, Oct. 19. “He has asked for a tree service company for his birthday and Christmas presents since then.”
Kristina explained in a recent call that Christopher is infatuated with tree service companies that often do work in their neighborhood.
“He knows every kind of chipper there is, knows every logo and set of brand colors for local companies, can spot any truck in the fleet a mile away, or tucked down a side street that we pass by,” she wrote. “He’ll demand we turn around to go see them.”
So, when Kristina reached out to Warwick Tree to see if they had any work scheduled in the area on Christopher’s birthday, so that he could perhaps see them work as a birthday present, she never expected the response that she got.
“I decided to make a phone call to Christopher’s favorite tree service company (Warwick Tree), hoping to not sound like a dope asking for them to ‘drop by’ if they happened to have a job in our area the next day…what company would do such a thing and on such short notice?” she wrote. “Surely, I was not going to hear back. I was shocked when Gail called me an hour later!”
Gail Shunski works as a receptionist for Warwick Tree, and said on Monday that never had she heard a request like the one Kristina put in. She originally told Kristina there was no work scheduled in the area. But when she later brought up the concept to Kyle Oneppo, whose father owns the business, they decided they would pull out all the stops to help give their biggest, little fan his dream birthday.
“It’s a first,” Shunski said. “We’ve never gotten a request like that.”
“I was just beside myself with excitement that this was actually going to happen for him,” Kristina wrote.
On the day of the party, Christopher walked out of the house fresh from the bouncy house that he was enjoying to see a Warwick Tree bucket truck in front of his house.
“He was so shy and seemingly star struck,” Kristina wrote in the post. “He looked around and said ‘where’s the chipper?’, and just started playing with the flowers and mulch beside the driveway. He was really overwhelmed. Kyle and Gail presented him with two big bags filled with the ultimate arborist goodies.”
Those goodies included a Warwick tree shirt, sweatshirt, baseball hat and hardhat – he was fully outfitted as though a member of the team. Getting over his initial shock, Christopher got to take a ride in the bucket truck with his dad.
“He was very hesitant at first but once he went up a little, he wanted to go up higher and higher,” Shunski said. “It was really cute to see once he got over the initial shock that the trucks that were there, he got really excited. He had a blast.”
Then Christopher really went to work, snapping dead branches from one of their trees and throwing them to ground, and then later throwing those branches into the back of a wood chipper (don’t worry, it was never actually turned on).
“Some kids play pin the tail on the donkey. He threw branches in the Bandit [wood chipper],” Kristina wrote.
Kristina expressed her utmost gratitude for Warwick Tree going above and beyond just to help make her son’s birthday special.
“With hands in his pockets, heart full of 5-year-old pure joy, and a look of satisfaction on his little boy face, he watched the team drive away to go home to the yard,” she recalled. “He surely won’t forget this day!”
And while Shunski and Oneppo were more than happy to see how appreciated their gesture was, they also had something to gain from the situation, too.
“We told him we would see him in 13 years,” Shunski said with a laugh, indicating he would have a job already lined up.