It’s 3 p.m. in the basement of the engineering building at Central Connecticut State University. Desks and chairs have been pushed against the walls to make space for the main event. Within this ring is a second circle of adults in T-shirts and jeans, turning away to cover their expectant smiles. And in the center of this circle is four-year-old Patrick, who has just climbed behind the wheel of a brand new red convertible.
“You better watch where you’re going, buddy,” his mother, Kate, calls after him. “Keep your eyes on the road!” Patrick zooms past, grinning. A volunteer jumps in front him, grabs the hood with both hands, and swings it around in another direction just before Patrick crashes into a table.
“I got a car!”