Kentucky teacher carries student in a wheelchair so she can attend class field trip
An elementary school teacher in Kentucky is going viral after he helped a student in a wheelchair attend their school's field trip.
Ryan Neighbors, a fourth grader at Tully Elementary in Louisville, Ky., was born with spina bifida, a birth defect that occurs when a person's spinal cord doesn't form properly. The 10-year-old has had dozens of surgeries since birth, and she's been confined to a wheelchair her entire life.
So when her class planned a trip to the Falls of the Ohio State Park, a national conservation area featuring plenty of rough terrain, it seemed that Ryan wouldn't be able to attend.
But then Jim Freeman stepped in. The elementary school teacher didn't want Ryan to miss out, so he offered to carry the 10-year-old around on his back all day.
"I was preparing for an 'alternate field trip day' when [Freeman] reached out and said, 'I'm happy to tote her around on the falls all day!'" Ryan's mother, Shelly King, said in a Facebook post.
King shared photos of the day, which showed Freeman holding Ryan inside a backpack, trekking through the park with her hanging on behind him.
"It melted my heart," King told WLKY-TV. "He’s not even Ryan’s teacher and he was so pure-hearted that he wanted to make sure that she was included and not left out and she got to feel like one of her peers."
Freeman, who teaches in the classroom next to Ryan's, said the 10-year-old was excited for the chance to join her peers on the trip.
"As soon as we got her strapped in, she's like, this is the part I've been waiting for," Freeman told WLKY.