Bus driver sees mom struggling with daughter’s wheelchair so calls with heartwarming offer


Verna Lynn DeSpain is a mother whose daughter was born with a seizure disorder. She is non-verbal and she only moves using a wheelchair. Lydia’s mother had been struggling with moving her around. She even had a hard time getting her out of the house because they didn’t have a proper ramp.

DeSpain had bought a portable ramp, but it could only fit on the second step, so she really struggled every time she had to move the full-size wheelchair up and down the ramp.So, the school bus drivers who came to take Lydia every morning and return her every afternoon felt sorry for their condition.

But only one of them decided to do something to help them.

Substitute bus driver for the Clarksville-Montgomery County School System (CMCSS), Thomas Mitchell, saw what the mother was going through and he couldn’t take this image out of his head.

He thought about it for a couple of days, and decided that he couldn’t just be an observer, but he had to take action.

“There was just hardly any room for her to maneuver this wheelchair,” Mitchell explained to the school district. “It just didn’t seem right for somebody to have to struggle like that.”

So, he tried to figure out how he could make a ramp for her. The project would need money and personal work, so he started thinking about how he could make it work.

Mitchell contacted a local Lowe’s home improvement store and managed to convince them to donate the tools he needed. Then, he also employed four friends, one of whom is in the construction business, and made a plan.

When DeSpain received a call from Mitchell asking if it would be okay for them to build a ramp, she was surprised.
“I was just so shocked,” DeSpain told CBS News. “I got a call from him out of the blue.”

Indeed, a few months later, it was time to actually build that ramp.

While DeSpain thought the construction would take all day, it didn’t take more than three hours. And the results were outstanding.

“I thought it was going to be all day, so when he told me we were done I was just shocked and actually very impressed,” said DeSpain. “They went above and beyond what we were expecting.”

10-year-old Lydia was happy too.

The mother couldn’t be more grateful for the people who went above and beyond to help her little family.
“I’m very thankful and grateful,” she said. “It’s a major blessing. This is the best year my children and I have ever had.”

Mitchell was happy to help a family in need, too. And he wished that more people took the initiative to help a fellow community member who needs help.

“Everybody should be helping out their neighbor, and so many people just drive by,” he said in a video on the CMCSS Facebook page. “So many people comment, you know, that it’s such a great thing. I challenge them to do the same. There’s no greater feeling.”


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