The sun shone brightly as the doors to the factory opened. Jasper, a new little, red fire engine rolled out of the factory and onto the parking lot.
Jasper looked all around. He saw large buildings, lots of cars driving up and down the streets, and many people walking quickly on the sidewalks. Jasper got very excited as he watched all the cars and people. He began to wonder where he would go to live and what would happen to him.
It wasn't long before a large truck pulling a long trailer rolled up next to Jasper. A tall man dressed in a suit and hat stepped out. He walked all around and examined Jasper closely. He carefully ran his hand across Jasper's fresh paint. He checked his ladders and hoses. He even sat in Jasper's seat, turned on the siren, and listened to the loud sound it made.
The man's name was John. He was the fire chief in a small town and had come to the factory to buy a new fire truck for his station.
John walked into the factory and returned in a short while. He loaded Jasper onto the trailer and drove away, They traveled for several days, and Jasper was getting tired of riding on the trailer. He was glad when the truck finally began to slow down. Before long, the truck drove into the small town and stopped in front of the fire station. Jasper thought this looked like a good place to call home.
There were people all around the fire station eagerly waiting to welcome the new fire truck. Several men helped John unload Jasper from the large trailer and John parked him in front of the station so everyone could admire him.
The townspeople were thrilled to see their new fire truck and everyone wanted to feel his new paint, look at his ladders and hoses, and listen to his loud siren. Jasper was proud and stood there beaming as the townspeople came by to meet him.
Later, after everyone had gone home, John drove Jasper into the fire station. Jasper felt very happy to be in his new home. He knew he was going to like this little town.
Each day as Jasper sat in the fire station, John washed and polished his shiny, red paint. Then John would check his siren, hoses, ladders, and motor to make sure he was in top working condition. John was good to Jasper and took good care of him.
Once in a while the big bell in the fire station would ring. Then the firefighters in the town rushed to the station. They hurriedly put on their fire fighting clothes and jumped on Jasper. John drove Jasper through the big doors, out of the fire station, and down the road to the fire.
This was what Jasper liked to do best. It pleased him to be able to help put out the fires and do what he could to save the little town.
The years passed, John and Jasper grew old. One day when John came into the fire station, he told the firefighters that he was going to retire. He said he would no longer be the fire chief nor would he be coming to the station every day. John's news made everyone feel sad.
John walked over to Jasper. He felt his weathered red paint and checked his ladders and hoses. He even sat in the seat for a few minutes.
Then, with a tear in his eye, he told Jasper good-bye and left the fire station. Jasper felt water leaking from his tank as he watched John walk away. He liked being with all the firefighters, but he especially liked John because he took such good care of him and made him feel happy.
The town had grown larger over the years, so they decided they needed a new, larger, shinier red fire truck. Now whenever there was a fire, the firefighters took the new truck. Jasper did not like being left behind. The firefighters began to pay less and less attention to Jasper as he sat in his corner of the fire station. He knew he was old, but he was still a good fire fighting truck!
Once in a while John would come by the fire station to visit with Jasper and the firefighters. Jasper was always glad to see John and liked it a lot when he checked his hoses and ladders, sat in his seat, and started up his engine.
One day a big fire started in the town. The firefighters jumped on the new engine and raced to the fire. The fought hard, but the fire grew bigger and bigger.
John came by and saw that the fire was out of control. He knew the firefighters needed more help. So he hurried to the fire station, started Jasper's motor, and drove to the fire. He stopped at a nearby hydrant and hooked Jasper's hose to it. Water began to flow down the hose, into Jasper's pump, and his motor began to roar. It wasn't long before John and Jasper had put lots of water on the fire and it soon went out.
The townspeople cheered and ran up to Jasper and John. They were very happy now that the fire was out and wanted to thank them for helping to save their town.
Then John gathered up all of Jasper's hoses and equipment and drove him back to the station. He took time to wash and polish him before he parked him back in his stall.
Time passed and the people forgot about Jasper and his heroic deeds. One day the fire chief said Jasper would have to go! He was too old and they didn't have room for him in the station anymore. They needed his stall for the new fire truck the town was going to buy.
Jasper didn't want to leave his home at the fire station. He had been happy there for many years. He began to wonder again where would he go and what would happen to him now.
When John heard that Jasper was going to be sold for junk, he wrote a letter to one of his friends. In a few days a big transport truck pulled up in front of the station. Jasper was loaded onto the truck and hauled to a big city far away. The big city had a museum for old fire trucks that were no longer needed in their towns.
The men at the museum unloaded Jasper and drove him into a huge room filled with other old fire trucks. Groups of people and school children came by everyday and admired the old trucks. Jasper liked his new home in the museum; but he missed being needed to fight fires, and he missed John's kind voice and soft touch. He wished he could see John and his hometown again.
One day a big truck came rolling up to the museum and stopped by its big double doors. A man walked over to Jasper. He sat in Jasper's seat, started his motor, drove him out of the museum, and onto the truck. Jasper was frightened because he did not know where they were taking him.
The big truck traveled for several days before it finally came to the town where Jasper had spent so many happy years. The truck rumbled to a stop in front of the fire station and the man unloaded him.
The firefighters washed and polished him and made him look brand new. Then one of the men drove Jasper to a little church down the road. When the doors of the church opened and people began coming out. Jasper could see firefighters carrying a big, long box. They carefully placed it on Jasper's hose bed. A firefighter got in and drove the little fire truck out of the parking lot and down the road past the fire station. Many people were lined up along the sidewalks to watch the fire truck go by. When they came to the cemetery, Jasper understood about the big, long box. His friend, John, was gone. Jasper began to think about how much he would miss John's visits, his gentle touch as he stroked his paint, and all the good times they had had together.
After a while the people began to leave the cemetery. Then a firefighter drove Jasper back to the fire station and parked him in the lot out back. Jasper felt sad and very much alone. He was worried about who would care for him and what would happen to him now that John was gone.
The next day a young firefighter climbed into Jasper's seat, started his engine, and drove him to the park located near the center of town. The park was filled with many townspeople. As Jasper looked around, he recognized many of them because he had helped to save their homes from fire.
The mayor stepped to the front of the crowd and said he had an important announcement to make. He told the people that before John died, he had made special arrangements for his money to go towards the care of his good pal, Jasper. The mayor said they had decided to use the money to build Jasper his very own fire station right in the middle of the park. It would be a place where people could come and learn of Jasper's heroic deeds during his years of service to the town. They would even be able to sit in his seat, listen to his loud siren, and check his ladders and hoses.
Now Jasper would have a special place to stay and be taken care of forever. This was the town's way of saying thanks to Jasper for his help over the years. It would also mean Jasper would be close by in case they ever needed him again.
All the people cheered. Jasper was so happy! He felt like he was going to burst. His siren began to blow, his motor roared, and he could feel water leaking from his tank.
At last Jasper had come home to stay and to be with people he loved and who loved him.