Construction Boss Delights Hospitalized Kids With Real-Life 'Where's Waldo'

The 41-year-old dad is paying it forward, big time.

Jason Haney, labor foreman with general contractor J.J. White, is overseeing a $50 million expansion at Memorial Children's Hospital in South Bend, Indiana

He's also doing something even bigger for the children who are hospitalized at the existing facility next to the construction site.

Haney created an 8-foot-tall "Waldo," made from plywood that his 17-year-old daughter Taylor painted to look like the iconic children's character from the popular "Where's Waldo" books.

Heidi Prescott/Beacon Health System
Heidi Prescott/Beacon Health System

The two hide Waldo on the site every day for the kids to find from their windows.

Heidi Prescott/Beacon Health System
Heidi Prescott/Beacon Health System

For Haney, it's a way of paying it forward. In an interview with Beacon Health System, Haney explains: "My daughter needed special care when she was 3 years old and we took her to a children's hospital. Being part of this construction project that is going to help kids means a lot to me and the others on the construction teams. It's going to be a great thing for our community."

Naturally, the kids love it. 

In an email to A Plus, Heidi Prescott, a Media Relations Specialist with Beacon Health System, told us how Haney's project makes the kids' day: "It's so heartwarming to see the smiles on our pediatric patients' faces as they look for Waldo every morning within the new Children's Hospital construction site."

Patient Jafet Acevedo-Oliveras, 7, of South Bend looks for Waldo.
Patient Jafet Acevedo-Oliveras, 7, of South Bend looks for Waldo. Heidi Prescott/Beacon Health System

The idea started off as a co-worker's joke.

Heidi Prescott/Beacon Health System
Heidi Prescott/Beacon Health System

Talking with the Huffington Post, Haney discussed how the genesis of the project was a random idea dreamed up by a co-worker. "He came up to me, and was kind of joking around, and said, 'Wouldn't it be funny if there was a Waldo up here?' And I thought, 'Yeah, that's kind of cool.' Then the idea sat in my head for a little while and I was like, 'I'm going to make him, I'm going to do it!'"

The "Where's Waldo" project has proven so popular that Haney now has a Facebook Page for people to post their pictures of the mysterious Waldo's whereabouts.


Heidi Prescott/Beacon Health System
Heidi Prescott/Beacon Health System

Haney's not done yet. Here's a sneak preview of his next project, which we think the kids will absolutely love.

Heidi Prescott/Beacon Health System
Heidi Prescott/Beacon Health System

Taking The Lede is an A Plus original series featuring ordinary people who quietly do extraordinary things. We believe these unsung heroes deserve their place in the headlines.

Cover photo via Heidi Prescott/Beacon Health System.

(H/T: Bored Panda)