Seven-year-old Jose was born with a rare vascular disorder, which affects his balance and causes him to be very shaky. The sweet little boy uses a helmet to ensure he doesn’t hurt himself if he falls and uses a wheelchair when traveling long distances. He also has a speech impairment but regularly goes to speech therapy and doctors’ checkups every six months.
Despite the pain of receiving Jose’s diagnosis, his parents say, “you just have to keep doing your best to make the most out of the situation.” They note that Jose is incredibly intelligent, caring and sensitive. He is also absolutely fascinated by trains and ever since he saw one for the first time, he has been obsessed with how they work. He even collects toy trains. When Make-A-Wish volunteers asked him what his wish was, it was no surprise to Mom and Dad that Jose wished to be a train conductor! He mentioned excitedly that trains have a lot of wagons and being the captain would make him “very happy!”
Make-A-Wish called upon our friends at Metrolink to grant this special little boy’s wish. In December, Jose got the experience of a lifetime to be the train conductor for a trip from Downtown LA’s Union Station to Burbank and back. Before he took off on his maiden voyage as conductor, Jose got a behind the scenes tour of the Metrolink facilities. This included operating a simulator, which was essentially a video game that showed him how to operate the train. This was followed by his train trip to Burbank Station. Before boarding the train with his family, he was greeted by the train conductor, also named Jose, who presented him with an official train conductor hat along with a badge with his name on it. Once they boarded the train, little Jose was introduced as the guest train conductor and was able to announce the train stops along the way. On the ride back to Union Station Jose was greeted by train engineer Alex who asked him and his dad to sit in the driver’s compartment with him as he drove the train. Throughout the whole ride the engineer made sure to engage Jose by explaining everything he was doing. Upon arrival back to Union Station the family got to visit the maintenance facility. At the maintenance facility, Jose, his dad, and older brother were able to climb aboard a locomotive with a mechanic and Jose got to blow the train horn to conclude the day!
Jose got to enjoy the experience with his parents and big brothers, who were so excited to see the huge smile on his face. His parents said his wish day was a total surprise for him and he enjoyed every special moment. He had told his parents that he wanted to blow the horn on the train so they knew this was his favorite part of his wish. Jose’s parents say, “We are very grateful for what Make-A-Wish did for Jose and what they do for all the other kids that they work with.”
For children like Jose, wishes can be a turning point in their battle with critical illnesses. Make-A-Wish is so grateful to Metrolink and the entire community for supporting Jose’s incredible wish.