'It's a special relationship': Fonterra changes tanker schedule for its biggest fan

Tanker drivers have formed a special bond with a Waikato man who suffers from  rare illness.
Tanker drivers have formed a special bond with a Waikato man who suffers from rare illness. Photo credit: Supplied

The world's largest dairy exporter has reorganised its tanker schedule to make sure its biggest fan doesn't miss out on his daily catch-up with its drivers.

Andy Oliver lives on a farm in the Te Rapa district of Waikato, and loves Fonterra tankers, reported RNZ.

Andy is one of only eight people in the world to suffer from Fryns-Aftimos syndrome, and the only one in New Zealand.

The 35-year old has the mental age of a 6-year-old.

For the past 15 years, the highlight of his day has been the arrival of the Fonterra tanker to pick up the farm milk.

His father Ken Oliver told RNZ that the tanker arrival had become part of his nightly routine.

Fonterra's Barry McColl said it made him  incredibly proud to be part of the co-op.
Fonterra's Barry McColl said it made him incredibly proud to be part of the co-op. Photo credit: Newshub

"He draws a picture to give to the tanker driver, he has to watch the weather report on the 6pm news, then he has dinner and a bath, and the last thing to tick off - is the tanker, " he said.

However with the tankers arriving anytime, it had become difficult to manage.

"We simply didn't know when the tanker was coming. You might get 2am in the morning or something like that and he wouldn't go to bed until the tanker had come," he told RNZ.

After reaching breaking point, Ken rang Fonterra to tell them what was going on, and they responded by changing the milk tanker schedule to make sure pick up was between 6:30pm and 8pm.

Tanker driver Kevin Healey said the drivers were also big fans of Andy.

"It's not something we encounter everyday, we can tell you that... it's a special relationship."

He said drivers enjoy visiting Andy.

"You realise how lucky you are that we're able to do this. If we can make Andy's day well, hey that's the icing on the cake."

He said the drivers have also been briefed on health and safety procedures, as Andy has a rare form of epilepsy.

"A lot of us guys that have been here before, we know what to expect and we have an in cab screen which has a warning along the bottom to make sure drivers are reminded to be careful going down the track just in case Andy's floating about," Healey said.

RNZ said the Fonterra drivers have even supplied Andy with uniform, which includes a high-vis Fonterra shirt and a hat.

Meanwhile Fonterra's General Manager Transport and Logistics, told Newshub it was truly heart-warming. 

"It makes me feel incredibly proud and privileged to be part of our Co-op, and see how our teams worked together to help the Oliver family," he said.

Newshub.

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