The community of Mount Laurel, New Jersey is showed its appreciation for longtime bus driver Gary Kelmer by surprising him with tickets to the Super Bowl.
Kelmer has been a bus driver for 27 years. He’s become a pillar of the community, and everyone has come to know him as a die-hard Philadelphia Eagles fan. He even rehearses the team’s fight song with kids on the bus.
“I went to congratulate him the morning after the Eagles won the NFC Championship,” recalls Mount Laurel parent Amy Smith. “I went up on the bus and he was literally in tears he was so happy.”
Soon after, Smith and her husband, Izaak, came up with an idea to send Kelmer to the Super Bowl to watch the Eagles. They started a GoFundMe page, and within five days they had raised more than $5,000 to cover tickets to Super Bowl LII, as well as travel and hotel costs for Kelmer and his wife.
Well over 100 people made donations, including many who used to ride Kelmer’s bus over his 27-year career.
“I’m just seeing this and Mr. Gary was my bus driver almost 20 years ago!” read a comment on the GoFundMe page. “I live in Vegas now and still tell people about my Eagles loving bus driver that taught me the fight song in middle school!”
On Monday, more than 60 students and parents gathered at Kelmer’s last stop of the day to surprise him. Needless to say, it was the shock of a lifetime for the man kids call Mr. Gary.
“Tremendously surprised. I just had no idea,” said Kelmer upon receiving the news. “No idea that I had so many followers over these years.”
There was even enough money raised on GoFundMe to buy Kelmer a custom Eagles jersey with “Mr. Gary” on the back.
“I’ve just made friends with so many families in Mount Laurel. I’ve touched so many hearts and so many hearts have touched me,” said Kelmer. “The words don’t say enough.”