Niagara Gazette — When Western New York kids went back to school last week, Tommy Williams rode a little yellow bus from his Lockport home to Aspire Center of Learning School in Cheektowaga. Eight-year-old Tommy loves that bus ride, taking in the everyday sights and sounds, giving him a moving window on the world around him. You may not know Tommy, but folks around the world are hearing his story, in a song.
“The Little Bus” (Tommy’s Song) is a tribute written by Mark “Buc” Williams for his son. The catchy country song does what country music does best: It tells a story.
“The idea to write the song, ‘The Little Bus,’ came from my son. Tommy was born perfectly healthy but began having seizures a couple of days after receiving his four-month DTaP vaccination,” Williams said.
The routine childhood vaccine is for the prevention of diphtheria, tetanus and pertussis, but it meant heartbreak for the Williams family when Tommy developed severe epilepsy, his small body wracked with endless seizures. Since then he has been unable to walk or talk or to even sit up on his own.
“He is now 8 years old and has been riding a little bus to school for the past five years. I also watched my older brother Earl, who has Down Syndrome, ride a little bus to school for many years prior to that,” Williams said.
The bright yellow bus became symbolic of Tommy’s attempt to overcome limitations and enjoy the people and places around him.
The Williams family doesn’t stay at home and hide away. Tommy’s parents take him everywhere. As members of Rainbow of Help, a group that helps raise funds for people with large medical expenses, they can be seen at all the local benefits, giving back to the community that supported them. Tommy’s chair went around the track at the Relay for Life, one more supporter of the cause and a familiar sight at local events.