GO Transit enthusiast Hunter Martin celebrates his 7th birthday at Union Station
For nearly half his life, Hunter Martin has wanted to spend his birthday the same way, by hopping onboard a GO train at Aurora Station, to make the special trip to Union Station. Every year he’s made it a tradition.
“We live close to the Aurora GO Station,” said Hunter’s father, Dan Martin. “He often asks us to stop on the way home from school to watch the trains go by. He’s just a huge train fan.”
Even though Hunter could well be one of GO Transit’s smallest Customer Ambassadors, he’s definitely one of the most passionate and is easily one of the service’s biggest fans.
He has his own GO uniform and can often can be seen wearing his homemade GO train costume (equipped with lights, speakers and automated pre-recorded messages and sounds) on a daily basis.
“I just love GO trains,” he said while parading through the York Concourse with Metrolinx spokesperson Anne Marie Aikins.
Aikins has been a part of this tradition for the past three years, including his television debut on City TV’s Breakfast Television back in 2016.
“I met Hunter and his family several years ago after his mom told me what a huge fan of GO trains he is,” said Aikins. “We decided that we would celebrate his 5th birthday together.”
Aikins said she still vividly remembers seeing his “incredible” costume of a GO train for the first time. She adds they have been “friends ever since, getting together periodically but always for his birthday.”
Hunter’s pure joy of trains also appears to be contagious for other customers. As he struts past busy commuters with Aikins and his sister Alina by his side, people can’t seem to help themselves and often stop, smile and even take photos.
This year, the Martin Family made Aikins her own GO train costume. “They really caught me by surprise today,” said Aikins. “He arrived in his newly upgraded train costume, his sister decked out in a double decker bus and they had a special surprise for me.” Aikins says there’s no doubt in her mind about what she’s wearing this Halloween.
I’ve never seen my boss @femwriter blush before!!! 7-year-old Hunter, and the Martin family created her a special @GOtransit costume, complete with a recording, “Are you checking out my Choo Choo?!” @Metrolinx Cheering up commuters one step at a time! Happy Birthday, Hunter!!! pic.twitter.com/wr1A9plWKb
— Matt Llewellyn (^mll) (@Mattrolinx) October 3, 2018
As for how long these costumes take to make, Hunter’s father Dan said he logged countless hours sources materials, 3D printing parts, wiring the electronics and ultimately building the costumes.
“It’s a great activity to do with the kids,” he said. “Alina helped with some of the soldering. They both helped record the sound effects. We get them all involved in the project.”
From everyone at Metrolinx – thank you for “Choo Choo” choosing GO Transit, Hunter. Happy 7th Birthday!
Matt Llewellyn is a Senior Advisor of Media Relations and Issues with Metrolinx.
“Matt’s guiding principle to documenting the lives of Canadians: You can always rewrite a lead, but you can never relive a moment.”