A 2-year-old North Texas boy with a disease that makes walking a challenge has a free brand-new, custom-made walker thanks to the generosity of some Home Depot employees.
Workers at the Home Depot in North Richland Hills are used to helping people pick out tools and supplies for their home projects.
But in the case of 2-year-old Silus Johnson, three employees told the boy’s family they would take the project from there.
Assistant Manager Matthew Spencer said he walked up to a customer to ask if he needed any help. He was talking to Silus’ grandfather who was working on building a special walker for his grandson.
When Spencer learned that Silus had Norrie Disease, leaving him blind and with low muscle tone, the idea to help popped up.
Since regular walkers were just too small for the 2-year-old, Spencer quickly brought in tool rental supervisor Eric Bindel.
"I have a 2-year-old of my own and so does Chris,” said Bindel. “I just dove right into it and said just drop it right there, give us his dimensions and we'll get everything going for you and build it for free"
And the genius behind it was tool technician Chris Wright, who started with some 1-inch PVC and ran with it.
“I used the foam around the edges to make it soft, rope to secure the seat,” Wright explained. “Reflective tape on it to kind of help it stand out if they're out in public or something so that way you can see him."
After two days and working on his day off, Wright and other Home Depot dads, fueled by their overwhelming desire to help Silus, crafted his walker.
“We need to recognize these gentlemen who put their heart and hard work into making this for my son. They don't even know us,” said Silus’ mom, Jessica Johnson.
"It was just really nice to know that I did this for this child, and he liked it a lot,” said Wright.
And then came the moment when Silus got to take it for a spin.
"As soon as we put him in there, it was just really cool. He started feeling around on it. You could tell he was happy. He was excited,” said Bindel. “He started laughing and then started using his little feet to push himself backwards. I had a big smile. Everybody had a big smile, maybe a couple little tears here and there"
For Jessica Johnson, the challenges of a special needs child can sometimes be overwhelming until something like this happens.
"I've prayed for them that God could bless their families because they've definitely blessed ours,” said Johnson.
The walker has metal broom handle prices on all four corners that extend. So as Silus grows, the walker can grow with him.