Bus Driver Builds Wheelchair Ramp for Special Needs Girl After Watching Mom Struggle

Compassion goes a long way as a Tennessee school bus driver is helping make a difference in one girl's life.

After watching a mother greatly struggle in getting her wheelchair-bound daughter down the steps of their home's porch, Thomas Mitchell knew he had to do something.

With the hopes to ease the struggle for Verna DeSpain and her 10-year old special needs daughter, Lydia, Mitchell's solution proved simple: build a wheelchair ramp.

"I knew there was a need," he told Inside Edition on Thursday. "As soon as I saw it, I knew."

DeSpain, a single mother, had steps leading from her front porch but the portable aluminum ramp she purchased to help her daughter became unstable and unsafe.

Call it kismet or fate, but Mitchell, who was filling in for a sick driver that day, noticed the family when he stopped to pick up Lydia. In those moments of waiting, he recognized that her mother was fighting to get her on the bus.

"I guess it just really struck a chord with him," DeSpain said. "He saw how hard I struggled."

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At the urging of his wife, Mitchell called DeSpain up and asked if it would be okay for him to build a wooden ramp and a little porch outside her front door.

DeSpain was blown away, saying, "I was amazed."

Enlisting the help of four co-workers, Mitchell convinced a local Lowe's to donate all the materials they needed. Though it took a couple of months to pull everything they needed together, they got the job done in less than three hours.

DeSpain's daughter, Lydia was ecstatic. The young girl burst into giggles and as her mother states, was "very happy and excited."

"You could just tell by her face," Mitchell said. "She was just smiling from ear to ear."

DeSpain tells Inside Edition that her daughter, Lydia was born with a rare seizure disorder that impaired her mental and physical development, resulting in the psychological level of a toddler.

Lydia has a younger brother, Israel, 7, who dotes on her and acts as her protector.

"He loves the ramp, too," DeSpain said.

While words fail to to describe how thankful she is to Mitchell, the bus driver says it's no big deal. It's just how he and his wife roll.

"We try to help people as much as we can," he said.


Mitchell's wife, Jennifer posted the video of the ramp's construction with the caption, "In a world where so much hate is being spread around, I just wanted to share that there are still good people out there, doing good deeds, and that humanity still exists!!!"


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