Teen's dad spends school year waving at bus, embarrassing son
Editor's note: This story made international headlines this time last year. The "waving dad" eventually met his son's bus driver. For the follow-up story, click here.
AMERICAN FORK — No matter how cool a teenager's mom and dad might be, few teens get through high school without feeling their parents embarrassed them.
And one teen has his dad to thank for embarrassing him the entire school year — well, 170 days of it.
When the high school's bus routes changed this year, 16-year-old Rain Price soon found out he'd be going right past his house every single morning. Much to his chagrin, he also found out his dad would be standing outside, waving.
"When he did it the first day, I was in shock," Rain said. "It's my first day of my sophomore year."
The embarrassment was a thrill for his father.
The second day of school, there he was again, only this time Dale Price was wearing a San Diego Chargers helmet and jersey. Day three, it was an Anakin Skywalker helmet, and the next day, swim trunks and a snorkel mask.
Other kids started to take note.
"Most of them like it, and we roll down our windows and wave. It's fun," Rain said.
His dad admits it took a lot of effort to keep it up, but said it was "a way of letting him know that we really care about him, but do something a little different." He described it as "a father's way" of saying I love you.
It ended up being a daily tradition for him, with a new costume each and every day.
"No recycling costumes, that's the rule," Price said. "I managed to adhere to that, and for better or for worse … we have some interesting costumes."
Interesting, "or embarrassing," according to Rain. He doesn't plan on thanking his dad at all.
"I'm not going to reward him for this; his reward is seeing my embarrassment," Rain said.
The elder Price could be seen — rain or shine — on the front porch of their home nearly every day of the school year, donning spandex, pleather, feathers, wigs, flip flops, suits, boots and even fur. He wore well-known costumes such as that of Batgirl, the scarecrow from Wizard of Oz, Elvis, the Little Mermaid, Princess Leia, Nacho Libre, Santa Claus and more. He also exhibited generic options, wearing every available variation of Army fatigues and winter wear, as well as several dresses — including one for a white wedding day.
"You don't want to see your dad dressing up in a wedding dress, waving at you on the bus," Rain said.
And never did his dad use the same character more than once. Several props aided interpretation as well. Like the day he hauled a porcelain toilet onto the porch. One of the days he was sick, so a cardboard cut-out of a Lord of the Rings character stood outside in his place.
"I hope this lives with him for the rest of his life," Price said. "He can use it against his kids and tell them, 'If you think you are embarrassed by me, you should have seen your grandfather.'"
Out-of-town relatives heard about the antics, and the family started documenting every costume, every school day, online, at www.waveatthebus.blogspot.com.
It was mentioned on the radio and on TV, and the excitement from that was enough to keep him going. But Dale Price has decided one year is enough. Next year, he said, "I am going to sleep in, no alarm, not getting out of bed."
Perhaps that will give his son a chance to relax and enjoy the rest of his high school experience.
Interview with Prices on KSL NewsRadio's Doug Wright show
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