Looking back at old photos can remind us of fond memories as well as stir up many emotions. Robert Irwin recently shared a carousel of pictures on his Instagram, one of which shows him as a toddler sitting on his late father Steve Irwin’s lap in an old utility vehicle. Although it has been 17 years since Steve's passing, the nostalgic car was never sold, as Robert recreates the precious photo as a grown young man without his father in the next slide.
The 19-year-old conservationist has a deep attachment to Steve's old car, fondly called “ute” as an abbreviation for a utility vehicle. “My dad's ute…it's a special car. From early memories when Dad would park and let me pretend to drive, to more recently when I took my driver's test in it (and somehow managed not to stall it),” he says. “I remember my first solo drive in this car after I got my license—it was to the hospital to meet my niece for the first time, right after she was born. And now, the ute still comes on road trips to this day…”
When viewed side by side, these photos are deeply emotional. In one, Robert is just 2 years old—the same age he was when Irwin died—and happily joined by his father. However, the more recent picture has a more stoic quality, because it highlights just how much Robert has grown up without Steve's presence. Irwin's wife Terri says, “I know Steve would be incredibly proud, now that Robert has his L plates, and is driving Steve's old ute.” The beloved vehicle has special significance not only to him but also to his sister Bindi as both siblings used the car for their driver's tests. Apparently, it was even used at Steve’s memorial service.
It is heartwarming to see how the Irwin family continues to keep Steve's memory alive. You can follow along with Robert’s adventures, with or without his ute, by following him on Instagram.
Robert Irwin recreated a childhood photo taken of him with his late father Steve Irwin. He is captured driving Steve's old utility vehicle, also called “ute.”
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