A Long Island mother devastated by the theft of her disabled daughter's wheelchair ramp has received an unexpected holiday gift.
A local carpenter showed up at the family's Mastic home Thursday to build a new ramp.
"It's amazing," said mother Alicia Biondo. "I have said thanks many times."
Biondo woke Wednesday to find the 8-foot-long aluminum ramp gone from the front of her home.
The ramp was vital to her daughter Evelynn's everyday life. It was the only way into and out of the house for the 5-year-old girl.
"It's almost impossible to get her down the steps safely without that ramp," said Evelynn's grandmother Michelle Walz.
"How could you do that?" added Biondo. "How could you take somebody's mobility?"
The aluminum ramp was probably stolen so that it could be sold as scrap metal, according to Suffolk Police Lt. Timothy Dillon.
"School bleachers have been stolen in the past. Copper from abandoned homes has been stolen in the past, so there is definitely a problem," Dillon explained.
With aluminum valued at about 50 cents a pound, the price for the ramp was about $50 for the 100-pound ramp.
After hearing of the theft, carpenter Dave Lohr of Ronkonkoma visited Biondo's home with a pickup truck filled with wood and tools.
With his son's help, Lohr built a new ramp for free for the single mom and her daughter.
"You have got to help people when they're down like that," said Lohr, who also has a disabled niece.
The work was completed before Evelynn returned from school Thursday.
When her bus arrived, Evelynn's mom could again maneuver her wheelchair with ease to the front door.
Although the little girl can neither see nor speak, few words were needed to capture the meaning of Lohr's act of generosity.
"It means more than he'll ever know," said a grateful Biondo.