TUCSON, Ariz. (KOLD News 13) - For one 7-year-old from Chino Valley, there is nothing better than road signs.
Yes, road signs.
Better than any toy or treat for Hunter Vincente is a visit to ADOT’s sign shop.
His dream tour was realized because of his great aunt, Monica Rodarte, who hand-stitched a highway sign Halloween costume for Vincente. After she posted it on ADOT’s Facebook page and asked if there was any way he could see where the signs are made, ADOT readily set up a visit.
His mother, Shannel Mae Vincente, said that Hunter’s passion for signs started about a year ago.
“All of a sudden, it was the weirdest thing, he started memorizing signs and drawing them.’’
With his fascination, he’s able to recall how the signs look, what they say and where they are.
As soon as him and his family arrived at ADOT’s sign shop in Phoenix, Vincente sprinted toward two large green and white signs in the parking lot that said, “McDowell Rd and 43rd Ave exit only.”
Inside the facility, a sign technician gave Vincent a VIP tour. He raptly watched as sign techs made a “no trucks” sign from start to finish.
“As a mom, you’re emotional,” Shannel said. “It’s nice to see him see the signs up close and personal and in real life.”
There was nothing in the factory that didn’t fascinate Vincent, ADOT said in a written article. They gifted him a chart displaying hundreds of ADOT signs, which Vincente received with a “happy dance.”
Sign tech Tom Erickson, who has been making highway signs for more than 30 years, said he feels nearly as thrilled as Hunter.
“This is a passion for me, too,” Erickson said. “People in the sign business, it kind of grows on you.”
Rodarte is grateful for ADOT’s willingness to make one little boy’s unconventional dream come true.
“There are really no words on what this day meant to my nephew Hunter,” she said. “Thank for what you do for Arizona. You are unsung heroes that keep us safe on our roadways.”