CLAYTON, Mo. – Clayton’s firefighters made a big surprise for one Meramec student Thursday, who got a ride home from school in a fire truck.

“He’s nine now. He’s never had a birthday party, we threw him a pretty epic Sonic the Hedgehog birthday party,” said Sean Davis, Nikita’s host dad. “He was overwhelmed, to say the least.”

Nikita and his mother, Angela, moved to Clayton in June after fleeing their home in Ukraine. Nikita has cerebral palsy and recently began walking. This is his first birthday in America.

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“Not everyone gets that as their first American gift,” said Erin Juenger, Clayton Fire Department engineer.

Clayton firefighters want this to be a memorable birthday for Nikita and Angela.

“It almost looked like one big happy family. I actually thought that maybe we were taking them to Disney World,” Juenger said. “I didn’t realize we were going home. We were just in a big truck going somewhere, it was like a road trip.

It was a quick ride home, but the smiles, laughs, and memories made are something everyone involved will cherish.

“It’s very heartwarming. It kind of generates the type of happiness you can’t really buy,” Davis said.

“I know this is going to stick with him, but I think it’s going to stick with us a lot more than it does him,” Juenger said. “For today, we gave this kid a little bit of hope and light that he hadn’t had earlier. So, I’m glad I got to be apart of that.”