Boy, 4, becomes huge hit with Liverpool tourists thank to his daily routine

By Daniel Windham & Emma Rosemurgey

A young boy has become a local star in Liverpool, after spending three years entertaining tourists who visit the area.

Four-year-old Kai Gardiner-Howearth moved into his grandmother's home in Mossley Hill when he was just 12-months-old following the death of his father.

Shortly after moving in, Kai began noticing a Liverpool City Sights tour bus passing the house, often several times a day, and he quickly began waving at every single bus that passed.

"Kai's mum moved into the house after his dad died, he was only one at the time. One day we were sat on the front step waiting for his mum to come home when we noticed the bus," Kai's grandmother, Heather Howearth, told the Liverpool Echo.

Kai has become quite the local celebrity (Liverpool ECHO)

"He started waving and the driver waived back. He was so happy. Now, every driver waves at him as they go past and all the tourists give a little cheer.

"He's waved to them for the last three years and has loved every minute of it. He can be in the garden and he will rush through the house to get to the front window so he can wave."

However, the youngster was left heartbroken when the tours had to come to a halt during lockdown, with Heather explaining it's been "really difficult" for him.

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He really missed the tour buses during lockdown (Liverpool ECHO)

"He is an only child and he likes his habits, he really doesn't like change so it's been horrible," his grandmother continued.

"He was over the moon when the first one came back in May. The VIP experience was wonderful, they were talking to him over the intercom and he could talk back on the mic, he was so well behaved.

"He could easily grow up to be a driver himself, he's very transport orientated, he watches cars go past the house and can name all of them.

"It's been difficult for the whole family since his dad died. We talk about his dad all the time but he doesn't really understand the situation.

"Kai's waving has really lifted our spirits."

Owner Philip Oliver surprised him with a banner (Liverpool ECHO)

The youngster was gutted when he realised that starting primary school earlier this month would mean he would miss several of the buses going past.

"When he went to school he was upset about missing the bus but I said you can wave to them afterwards, there's still two a day when he gets home," Heather said.

"We've been stuck in over the summer holidays so that's kept him occupied. He has his own special bus wave and smile now."

Even drivers noticed Kai's absence, so they decided to give the four-year-old his very special VIP journey on one of the buses, along with a special surprise banner, to let him know just how much they'd miss him.

Owner Philip Olivier, decided to have a banner made that read, "Good luck on starting school Kai. We'll miss your wave".

He said that Kai's smiling face and wave never fails to lift his staff's spirits and they were delighted to see him again after lockdown.

He said: "We were able to open up again in May after lockdown but we didn't get too many customers at first. When the drivers came back they said there was such a feel good factor on the streets.

"People were cheering as if it was a sign of getting back to normality to so we decided to keep the tours going for that reason.

"Kai has become such an important part of our tours and it really hit home on Monday that he wasn't there. Kai always raises staff spirits when they're driving past.

"Kai has given us that reminder of why we do our job, we can't thank him enough. He's given our staff a passion for what they do. As long as there are people like Kai we will keep doing what we're doing."

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