When my oldest child was only a couple years old, we were visiting another couple who had a kid about the same age. While we played in the yard, we heard the siren wail of an ambulance coming down the road.
The little boy ran to his father and started frantically gesturing toward the street.
“Does he not like ambulances?” I naively asked.
“Oh no,” his dad replied, “he loves them. In fact, we have to watch every one that passes.”
Indeed, little children in general (and young boys in particular) seem to adore big vehicles with flashing lights that make lots of noise. One little guy’s good-hearted obsession with fire trucks has provided poignant punctuation to his life.
According to the Sheffield Star, 3-year-old Kalel Pallett from Sheffield, South Yorkshire, England, was an ordinary boy. Curly haired, bright-eyed, and positively popping with energy, he loved everything that you’d expect.
His grandmother, Tarnall Lee Hallman, has multiple nods to Superman on her Facebook. In fact, his very name seems to be a call out to the famous superhero.
But everyone agreed that Kalel truly adored fire engines, and fire engines would end up commemorating his too-short existence.
Kalel came down with a virus. Most parents know what it’s like to have a little one experience a nasty bug, even to catch one that’s so bad it requires medical attention.
Sadly, the little boy didn’t rally from his illness, despite the ministrations of medical professionals and the deep desires of his family.
On Feb. 3, Hallam posted on Facebook, saying, “Wake up, sweet darling. Get those tubes ripped out and show those nurses how cute you are. I miss you so much.”
Tragically, Kalel passed away on Feb. 6.
His devastated mother, Chrissie Simpson-Greaves, wanted to do a single simple thing to commemorate her son.
“We are searching for anyone who may be able to help us with arranging for a fire engine to lead the funeral cars from our home in Arbourthorne … to Cemetery Road Baptist Church in Sharrow where the service will be held,” she said.
“I just want to give my baby the best. It’s the last thing we can physically do for him, and we know sometimes things like this aren’t always possible, but we can at least try.”
Well, this was one with that came true. South Yorkshire Fire & Rescue confirmed on Facebook that they would have a fire engine in Kalel’s funeral procession.
“Today we have met with the family of three-year-old Kalel Pallett to offer them our support after they appealed last week for a fire engine to lead his funeral procession,” the post read.
“We can now confirm that we will be providing an engine for the funeral due to the extremely sad circumstances surrounding Kalel’s death.”
A sad story with an even sadder ending. But we can praise the kind-hearted first responders who are commemorating a little boy in a way he would’ve loved.
Truth and Accuracy
We are committed to truth and accuracy in all of our journalism. Read our editorial standards.