Like most young people during the pandemic, Adrian Olmos has missed hanging out with his friends as he is stuck at home.
However, the past year has been especially difficult for the 12-year-old Gilroy resident.
Adrian was born with cleidocranial dysplasia, a rare genetic condition that affects his bones, causing some of them to be fragile or underdeveloped.
In September 2019, Adrian underwent surgery on his skull, which had not finished forming. In addition, he recently had surgery on his hip and knee, and he won’t be able to walk until late spring.
Confined to his crutches and wheelchair at home, as well as being unable to celebrate his 12th birthday on Jan. 5 in the traditional manner, Adrian has been down in the dumps.
But he got a boost to his spirit on Jan. 2, when a surprise drive-by birthday parade rolled by his home, led by several Gilroy Fire Department engines and followed by roughly 20 vehicles, with family members wishing him a happy birthday and handing him presents from a distance.
Adrian, a Brownell Middle School student who dreams of becoming a firefighter, said the parade was completely unexpected as he waved and thanked each passing vehicle.
Adrian’s mother Mariza Olmos said she wanted to surprise her son for his birthday and lift his spirits, as being confined at home is “driving him nuts.”
She reached out to her friend Maria Cid, owner of a Farmers Insurance agency in Gilroy who is involved with numerous community efforts, and asked if she knew of any way to make Adrian’s birthday extra special.
Cid then reached out to Gilroy City Councilmember Fred Tovar, who in turn contacted Steven Hayes and Jim Beussing of the Gilroy Fire Department and were able to secure the engines for the parade.
“With everything going on in the world today, it’s nice to see our community come together to make Adrian’s birthday a memorable one,” Cid said.
Tovar said he hopes the city can find funding to restore and operate a community fire truck that would be used for similar events, because of the joy it brings to children such as Adrian.
“This is what it’s all about,” he said after he handed Adrian a fire department hat and T-shirt.
Olmos called her son a “tough little cookie” who doesn’t complain.
“He’s a little fighter, it doesn’t surprise me that he bounces back so quickly,” she said.