Tyler Autry of Canton thought he was headed to another in a long string of visits to his doctor when he and his mother, Amy, headed to Tyler on Wednesday.
But the 15-year-old, who's currently in remission following treatment for cancer, was surprised when, instead of another examination, the trip turned into a wish come true.
Darren Davis and his crew at Davis-Green Paint and Body Shop in Tyler, along with Bill Day Tire and several other automotive businesses in the area, had taken Autry's 2005 Ford F-350 dually pickup and converted it into a vision of many young men's dreams. Through the auspices of the Make A Wish Foundation of North Texas, when Autry turns 16 in November and gets his license, he will be riding in style.
The upgrade focused on cosmetic improvements, Davis said, noting the truck was mechanically in excellent condition when Autry dropped it off at the shop in May. The truck is now tricked out with a new audio system, lighting kit, heavy-duty bumpers and other trim, a spray in bed liner and a lift kit, to name just a few of the changes. Spoked wheels and big, nobby tires round out the package.
"All the bells and whistles," Davis said. "All the things the kids love these days."
"This is unbelievable," Amy Autry said. "This exceeded our every expectation, every hope we had for him, after all he went through" battling cancer.
This was the third of such Make A Wish Foundation projects Davis-Green Paint and Body Shop has participated in, Davis said. The first was about seven years ago, when the business worked on another pickup for a young man dealing with a serious illness.
"We've partnered with them," Davis said. "I've made our company available since that time."
Autry was temporarily speechless as he sat behind the wheel of his truck, surrounded by his family, representatives from some of the many companies involved in the project and the media.
But, later, when asked what he thought, he could only say, "I can't even explain it. I was expecting to go to the doctor."