A beloved school bus driver from New Jersey was surprised by students and parents with a pair of tickets to watch his favorite team play in Super Bowl LII.
Gary Kelmer has taken on the responsibility of driving the kids in Mount Laurel, New Jersey, to and from school for the past 26 years. Over the course of those two decades, he has built a reputation of being one of the “coolest” guys in town for his music playlist during his daily rides, weekly handouts of Airheads candy and willingness to let some of the children hop on the vehicle’s intercom. He is also known around town for the yearly Fishing Derby he puts on to teach children how to fish.
“He’s my favorite bus driver,” 6-year-old Addyson Smith told CBS Philadelphia. “He’s very, very nice.”
One other thing the kids on Kelmer’s bus will learn is the fight song to his favorite team, the Philadelphia Eagles, who will play the New England Patriots in Super Bowl LII on Sunday at U.S. Bank Stadium in Minneapolis.
The 66-year-old’s love for the team is not something he is shy about putting on display, and he can usually be found proudly wearing his signature Eagles hat or pullover.
That’s why when the Eagles secured their Super Bowl berth after trouncing the Minnesota Vikings in the NFC Championship, parent Amy Smith started a GoFundMe page that raised $5,000 in five days to buy two tickets for Kelmer and his wife to see the Birds play for the Vince Lombardi trophy.
On January 29, more than 60 students and parents gathered at Kelmer’s last stop of the day to surprise him with the tickets. Kelmer was beside himself when he found out what they had planned.
“Oh boy! Oh boy! Oh boy!” Kelmer said when presented with the tickets to the big game, according to the Burlington County Times. “I don’t know what to say. This is a special dream come true. I’m ecstatic.”
Not only that, but the Kelmer and his wife were gifted two personalized Eagles jerseys reading “Mr. Gary” and “Mrs. Gary,” placed above the number 52 (to represent the 52nd Super Bowl).
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“He’s just a wonderful human being,” Amy Smith told the County Times. “We’re so blessed to have him as a bus driver because he truly loves his job.”
Come Sunday, Kelmer’s Eagles will face the Patriots in a rematch of the 2005 Super Bowl, which saw Philly lose to the Pats 24-21. It seems he’ll be in good company at U.S. Bank Stadium — Eagles fans are expected to outnumber Patriots fans at a ratio of 3 to 2 on Sunday.
“I’ve never had anything like this happen to me,” Kelmer told the publication. “I’m blessed in so many ways.”