Life and Arts

Fatherly ride-along

Mike Campbell and his son, Hayden, 8, combine exercise with fun on their trips to school several mornings a week.

Some days they ride their bikes. Other times, they take their skateboards or scooters. And then there are the days the third-grader jumps onto his PlasmaCar Ride-On vehicle and zips toward Miller Elementary School.

“It’s actually really fun,” Hayden said about spending time with his dad.

This time of the morning, “it’s a joy ride,” Mike Campbell said. “He learns the rules of the road, and I tell him every driver is a crazy driver.”


Hayden said he’s had a couple of spills, but nothing serious.

“It doesn’t hurt,” he said. “I get used to falling down.”

Hayden also lifts weights and sometimes does yoga with his mom, he said.

Dad wears a backpack filled with Hayden’s lunch and school books, which leaves Hayden’s hands free to steer whichever vehicle he decides to ride that day. Dad gets to walk back up the hill to home before going on to work.


His wife, Diana Campbell, picks Hayden up after school.

On Thursdays, father and son get up even earlier and go out for breakfast, but they take the car.

They go to Burger King, McDonald’s or Krispy Kreme Doughnuts, Hayden said.

Over the years, they met a group of older men at a doughnut shop on Alameda Avenue that now meet at the McDonald’s on Western.

“They teach him the ropes about life,” Campbell said.

When they reach the school, Campbell combs Hayden’s hair, gives him his books and lunch and gives him a hug.

“Love ya, dude!” he calls out as Hayden runs through the school gate.

Neighbors look forward to seeing father and son make their trips down the hill past their houses.


“He is so good with Hayden,” next-door neighbor Vicky Ellison says about Campbell. “He’s just like a kid himself. He’s a special dad.”