An elementary school teacher made the day of a wheelchair-bound student who usually missed adventure trips due to logistics. He literally carried the 10-year-old girl with spina bifida on a special backpack through the Falls of The Ohio State Park during a school field trip, capturing hearts on the internet with his kind gesture.
Ryan King, a fourth-grader at Tully Elementary School just outside of Louisville, Kentucky, suffers from a birth defect spina bifida that means her spine and spinal cord didn’t form properly. As she’s in a wheelchair, going on school trips is tough.
Ryan’s mother, Shelly King, told CNN, “We’ve had field trips before where we weren’t able to go and the school gives us alternate education days. But when she goes back to school, her peers and classmates are all talking about the field trip, so she doesn’t have the same experience. And when she’s not there, the kids really miss her, too.”
Although generally field trips are accessible, this was more on the adventurous side as the class was going to see the exposed fossil beds along the Ohio River. King didn’t want Ryan to miss out on the experience.
She said, “I found this backpack that a friend had sent me and grabbed it, and said I’m just going to carry her so she can experience this”.
While she was explained her plan to Ryan’s teacher, a fellow elementary school teacher, Jim Freeman, stepped in with, “I’m happy to tote her around on the Falls all day!”
King said, “He knows who Ryan is, but they didn’t have any prior personal relationship. I don’t think he had any idea what a big impact he was going to make on so many different people.”
The children in class loved having Ryan during their adventurous day, laughing as she got a piggyback ride while they had to walk around the Falls.
King said, “We’re blessed at our school — the kids there are so compassionate and understanding”.
But the most important thing that Mr. Freeman did for the young girl was he gave her independence.
King said, “She doesn’t want mom tagging along to everything”.