CEO for the day: Toyota Material Handling grants special wish for 10-year-old

Mike Wolanin | The Republic Maddox Overbey, right, and his little brother Dexter are greeted by Toyota Material Handling employees during a Make-A-Wish ceremony for Maddox at Toyota Material Handling North America in Columbus, Ind., Tuesday, July 9, 2024.

A 10-year-old who was diagnosed with brain cancer became CEO for the day Tuesday at Toyota Material Handling, as Toyota employees granted him some of his fondest wishes in partnership with the Make A Wish organization.

Maddox Overbey and his family arrived at Toyota’s campus with a welcome from employees and leaders, followed by a chance to oversee several meetings with Brett Wood, president and CEO of Toyota Material Handling, which included snacks.

Maddox had brain cancer, but is currently not under treatment, his family said. Fundraising efforts to grant his wish to go to Disney World began in February, and included Toyota employees organizing a golf outing fundraiser.

“Hope is a key. Make a Wish organization does a tremendous job of giving hope to children who have had a lot of challenges,” said Wood.

Wood said his favorite part of the CEO for a day is when employees greet the family. Maddox was greeted with bubbles, noisemakers, and high-fives after he arrived at Toyota’s front entrance.

This is Toyota’s 5th CEO for a day event, which the company has each year. Shelley Bramlett, who is senior executive assistant and manager of corporate events for Wood, works closely with the Make a Wish Foundation’s local chapter to make these events happen.

Bramlett said her favorite part of the event is getting to know the family, and making the campaign personal to the child. For Maddox, that means a lot of Spiderman, Minecraft, and Disney elements as part of the surprises during the day.

Maddox held meetings with marketing, corporate social responsibility, and human resources. Maddox also was taken on a factory tour.

Maddox was accompanied for the day by his mom Brandy, dad Dylan, his little brother Dexter, and his great uncle Lester White, who is a Toyota associate.

Brian Simpson, manager of advanced research and development, had a few different robots that Maddox had the opportunity to play with after the tour.

To round out his day as CEO, Maddox learned that his wish was granted, and he and his family will be going to Disney World on Nov. 5th, following his birthday on Nov. 1st.

“Being able to take the family to Disney World, it’s huge,” said Dylan, Maddox’s dad. He said that Maddox loves Disney, and it’ll be a big deal for him.

Maddox said he had a lot of fun, and his favorite part was getting to see so many people.

“I was not expecting this,” said Maddox. When he was told about CEO for the day, he didn’t know what was in store.

Maddox is most excited for the rides and characters at Disney world.

“Probably the second best day of my life,” said Maddox, describing his experience as CEO.

The first best day will be when he goes to Disney World, he said.