Police are looking for the thieves who stole the metal ramp a 10-year-old boy in a wheelchair uses to get in and out of his home.
The ramp was stolen from Isaiah McLaughlin’s home in Bridgeport over Easter weekend, according to NBC Connecticut. Police are looking for the suspects, but McLaughlin, who has arthrogryposis and cannot walk or use his legs, said he lost something bigger than a ramp.
“I lost my independence, my freedom,” he said.
He had to stay home for several days after the ramp was stolen because he had no way to get his 450-pound electric wheelchair out of his house, NBC Connecticut reports. He eventually got to school, but was not in his normal cheery mood, said Kelly Mason, a security officer.
“When I saw Isaiah, he didn’t look like himself,” he said. “He’s usually happy-go-lucky and cheerful. He brightens up everybody’s day."
Mason and other community members decided to help out. He had a tow truck driver get the wheelchair to the school, and a local motorcycle club has volunteered to build a new ramp.
Mason also set up an online donation site for materials for the wooden ramp, along with city permits. Donations have already reached more than double the $1,500 goal. You can make a donation here.
McLaughlin's mom, Gloria Ramirez, said she would still like to see the ramp returned, but her son has kept her spirits up.
“I just keep smiling because of this little guy,” she said.