JUPITER, Fla. — A Florida father goes the extra mile to give his kids a normal life. On Wednesday morning, like all mornings, he biked with his three boys to school.
“This is my wife’s bike, I just wanted to, I guess have a memory with her,” Marty Ondrus says as he gets aboard dressed in a bunny costume.
Ondrus lost his wife to cervical cancer shortly after their third child was born four years ago.
The suddenly single father of three boys — now 4, 6, and 8 — made the move from Chicago to Jupiter, Florida, last August because he wanted a slower pace of life.
“I was just spinning in circles, I didn’t know start or stop, it was just all day and all night,” he says.
“Now I’m the dad, I’m the mom, I’m the uncle, I’m the grandpa, I’m the sister, I’m everything.”
Once Ondrus got a handle on being “everything,” he decided to honor his wife by making people smile, however possible. The Easter bunny costume idea came easy to him, as his wife loved Halloween much more than most.
“We actually got married on Halloween, I had a hatchet in my head and makeup,” Ondrus says.
The father of three always rides the family bike to school drop-off and then on to daycare for his youngest.
So it was easy to add the bunny suit to the morning commute.
“You get cheers, you get hi's and bye's, kids are laughing," Ondrus says. "That’s all that matters right?”
“He’s kind of the catalyst for all the fun in the neighborhood,” says neighbor Bryan Wood.
Wood believes Jupiter is the perfect community for this special family. He and other dads in the neighborhood try to help out and give Marty a break now and then.
“It’s a tragic story, but he’s made themes of it and really provided a great life for those kids,” Wood says.
Ondrus is pragmatic about his new normal.
“This is it , it won’t change, just make the best of it,” he says.
It seems Ondrus is definitely making the best of it for his little family of four and the community he’s making smile while peddling along his bunny trail miles.