Herman E. Calloway ruins Bud’s plans in Bud, Not Buddy through one very simple fact: Herman E. Calloway is not Bud’s actual father. The reader learns about the treasured flyer in Bud's suitcase that contains the date of Herman E. Calloway’s most recent performance. Because Bud’s suitcase contains all of the information he has about his original family, Bud incorrectly assumes that the man mentioned in the flyer is his father. This is what leads Bud to leave Flint and travel to Grand Rapids. Once there, Bud finally meets Calloway, but immediately notices an issue: “My dad’s face was old.” Bud’s “dad’s face” is old because Herman E. Calloway is not Bud’s dad at all. Herman E. Calloway is Bud’s grandfather.
In reality, though, it is not really fair to say that Herman E. Calloway “ruins” Bud’s plans at all. In fact, in many ways Bud’s life is better than it ever could have been. Yes, it takes a while for Herman E. Calloway to warm up to Bud; however, Bud now has more than he could ever have dreamed. Bud is now the proud owner of both a “skinny wooden flute” called a recorder as well as a small saxophone. More importantly, Bud is now part of a jazz band that becomes his family.