If you know families who medically struggle you’ll know that transportation can be difficult. Often a person or family needs to bring extra equipment that normal vehicles just don’t have the room for. That’s why when a community showed up they changed a man with cerebral palsy life forever.
Jonathan Barnes, a man who suffers from cerebral palsy, was surprised with a gift after his van was totaled.
34-year-old Barnes has cerebral palsy and is blind in both eyes, so he uses a wheelchair. His parents, Joe and Victoria, would drive him everywhere he needed to be in their South Florida town. They would drive him from doctor’s appointments to church. They used a specific van with a lift in it so Barnes could get in easily with his wheelchair. The van ended up being totaled later in the year because of an accident. Due to chain issues, there was no van available to purchase for the Barnes family, and they couldn’t get one for at least six months.
Barnes’ father, Joe, needed to carry him in and out of the car everywhere they went. This wasn’t a safe option for Jonathan and was causing back issues for Joe.
Chen Men is a company that uses vans like the one the Barnes family used, and after hearing about the Barnes’ story, surprised the family with a brand new van with a wheelchair lift so that Jonathan would easily be able to get in the van.
Jeff Opperman, Senior Director for Communications said, “When we saw that the Barnes family needed a vehicle with the wheelchair lift in it, well, we knew just where to get one.”
Jonathan is safely inside the vehicle when he goes onto the lift, lifted up, and strapped in. a button is then pressed and the process is complete.
“They showed up and they surprised us with this van. So therefore, now we have a van that we can transport Jonathan in,” said Victoria.
Jonathan said, “It feels good to have a brand new van,” and later said, “I’m very thankful for it.”
The family is really appreciative and grateful for the new van.