Mark Robertson

Mark Robertson

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Ohio man fighting cancer gets heartwarming gift from a bus full of kids

School bus driver Tony McHale has been honking the horn on his bus to boost the spirits of his friend Tony Way since Aug. 25, 2021. Way, who has been battling cancer for five years, listens for that honk each school day around 7:10 a.m. They've been friends for 20 years.

McHale began this practice soon after, beeping his school bus's horn each morning to let Way know he's thinking of him.

The tradition went on a brief pause recently when McHale learned he wouldn't be allowed to drive due to him having a pacemaker implanted. Ohio State law prohibits school bus driving for anyone who has this procedure done, McHale shared.

When McHale transitioned to a bus aide this year, the new driver, Randy Hurst, agreed to continue the tradition of honking the horn at Way's house on Broadway Street.

The students who always rode the bus noticed the bus driver would honk the horn at the same house every day. When they asked McHale about it, the story about Way's sickness came out. McHale told the kids his friend could not leave his house.

"I told them it's the right thing to do and had to explain the importance of helping others in a time of need," McHale shared.

The students wanted to help, too, so McHale suggested they all shout and wave at Way when the bus passed his house. The next day, when the bus drove by, all the kids shouted and waved out the window at Way, making him very happy.

Way's cancer reached a critical point recently when his bladder and prostate were removed. "It was necessary since treatments did not work. My doctor tried treatments for five years. After one of my surgeries, I had four separate infections."

"Their sincere love moved my heart," Way said. "Pulling away, they continued to wave and yell to me to get better."

After a few weeks, the children expressed their desire to repeat the activity. However, this time, McHale was ready with art supplies. He distributed colored paper and markers to all the children on the bus on Oct. 4, and they made "get-well" cards for Mr. Way. In the video posted by the school, upon reaching Way's house, the children displayed their signs outside the bus window and shouted, "GET WELL TONY!"

“It was a great surprise,” Way shared.The Board of Education of Little Miami Local Schools recognized the group of students for demonstrating selflessness and putting others first while on the bus. Way was also in attendance at the meeting and got a standing ovation from the audience.

"He cried when the kids, who don't even know him, came up to him and hugged him," McHale said. "We teach our kids to always do the right thing, kindness, and helping each other out."

A close up of a yellow orange school bus with a red stop sign for back to school

Photo: ucpage / iStock / Getty Images

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