Whatever happened to: Washburn man still gets kick out of last year’s gift of busThe shine still hasn’t worn off the gift Joey Moravchik of Washburn got for Christmas last year — a bright yellow school bus he had always wanted to drive.
By: Peter Passi, Duluth News Tribune
The shine still hasn’t worn off the gift Joey Moravchik of Washburn got for Christmas last year — a bright yellow school bus he had always wanted to drive.
As a child, Moravchik had wanted to become a bus driver when he grew up, but a learning disability stood between him and his dream.
Until last Dec. 25.
That’s when his younger brother, Jeff, gave Joey a gift that will be tough to top in a lifetime. Jeff, 37, gave Joey, 40, the keys to his own bus. Bus No. 74, formerly of Lake Shore Buses in Ashland, was parked behind a silo on the family farm south of Ino, and the whole Moravchik clan, many of them still wearing pajamas, followed Joey out to discover what Jeff had been unable to fit under the Christmas tree.
A family video first shows Joey staring in disbelief at the bus and then rushing for the door. Once in the driver seat, he opened the side door, as family members filed on for a spin around the farm with Joey at the wheel.
Joey still lives in Washburn with the help of round-the-clock support specialists, but he typically makes a trip out to the family farmstead at least once a week, Jeff said.
“He’s still just as excited as he was Christmas Day,” Jeff said. “Sometimes he just sits in it and opens and closes the door.”
Other times, he takes the bus for a drive around the farm with family members. Joey has full run of the place, except when the Moravchiks are making hay. And no family birthday party is complete without a celebratory ride on Joey’s bus.
“On his 40th birthday he took everyone for a ride,” said his mother, Carol Moravchik. “He threw himself a surprise birthday party. He enjoyed planning the whole thing. And he was surprised, because he didn’t know who would come.”
The family is trying to figure out how Joey can use the bus even more, Carol said. “We’re talking about taking it somewhere. We don’t know all the rules and regulations. … It provides a constant conversation.
“Now he’s looking on the Internet and he’s printing out pictures of buses and what color he’d like to paint it.”
At one point, Joey was leaning toward Green Bay Packer colors, and then he thought half-Green Bay and half-Vikings, his mother said. “And all of us yelled at him.”
Jeff said the bus is still in good working order, and his brother takes meticulous care of it. As a high schooler, Joey worked after class cleaning the fleet at Lake Shore Buses.
“He keeps it clean and makes sure no one gets it dirty,” Jeff said.
And No. 74 is ready for another holiday run today.
“He’s hoping there’s good weather,” Carol Moravchik said. “He remembers who did get a ride and didn’t get a ride.”