Joy ride ticked off bucket list

RIDE OF HER LIFE: Bob Hastie takes Wendy Pettifer for a ride in a Ford Mustang.
RIDE OF HER LIFE: Bob Hastie takes Wendy Pettifer for a ride in a Ford Mustang.

With wind in her hair, Willie Nelson playing on the tape deck and the roar of the V8-powered Ford Mustang as it charged down the road, Wendy Pettifer has had another dream come true.

The terminally ill Huntly woman beamed with joy as Bob Hastie, owner of 1969 Mach 1 Mustang, sank his foot deeper into his steed as they rumbled around the Waikato.

A ride in a pre-1972 Mustang was on Pettifer's bucket list before cancer eventually takes her, and the Saturday morning ride was just the ticket.

"It was just amazing," she said. "I couldn't have asked for anything more."

Hospice Waikato nurses visit Pettifer daily and they were at the top of her mind as she told the Waikato Times how Hastie and his wife Deidre Hastie pulled up the driveway.

"We heard it coming because that was one of the things I love about Mustangs is the noise of it.

"They have a blue Mustang and a red one, but the one I always wanted to go for a ride in was a red one. It's just amazing."

Pettifer uses a wheelchair these days so she was helped into the driver's seat for a few photos and then the passenger side before they took off.

Her husband Doug Pettifer went along for the ride and sat in the back with Deidre Hastie and they all found a love for muscle cars translated into a fondness for American country music.

"The four of us have the same sense of humour as well because as we we're rolling out the drive, we turned the tape deck up very loud which had Willie Nelson's On the Road Again, which was just amazing."

They drove to Hamilton and cruised the main street before tearing down the expressway to Ngaruawahia and home again. She couldn't thank them enough.

"Ever since I was a child, there was just something - maybe it was born into me, I don't know - I've just always loved Mustangs."

Bob Hastie read about Pettifer's wish to ride in a Mustang in the Waikato Times when she was visited by New Zealand Warriors player Jerome Ropati.

Members of the Waikato Mustang Owners' Club put their heads together and Hastie made the Saturday morning jaunt happen.

"It was a lot of fun," said Hastie. "She just sat there and laughed the whole time."

"Because of the predicament she's in and because she is a Mustang fan, you've got to look after them."

Hastie didn't know Pettifer before yesterday but said club members loved to do good turns, but more importantly, she was a part of the community and memories of yesterday's ride would stick with him for a while.

"She particularly wanted the type of car that I had and I actually live close to Huntly as well," said Hastie.

"It's a pretty sad time of your life and to make the last part of your life really happy was unreal."

elton.smallman@fairfaxmedia.co.nz

Waikato Times