Teacher carries student who uses a wheelchair so she can enjoy field trip: 'Never feel like you're left alone'

·2 min read

An elementary school teacher in Kentucky went above and beyond to ensure that one student was included during her class’s recent field trip. Instead of allowing a fourth-grader who uses a wheelchair to miss out, Jim Freeman, a teacher at Tully Elementary School, volunteered to carry 10-year-old Ryan Neighbors on a specially made backpack around the outdoor terrain.

Neighbors’s mother, Shelly King of Louisville, Ky., says that her daughter has spina bifida and has used a wheelchair for her entire life, according to WLKY. Because of the lack of wheelchair access, previous school trips have posed as a challenge for the young girl.

Neighbors's family found out that this year the class would be visiting the Falls of the Ohio park, which they called "obviously, NOT accessible" in a post made on Team Ryan’s Facebook page. The family started to plan an "alternative" trip just for her.

Instead, Freeman, who teaches the class next door to Neighbors's classroom, stepped in and volunteered to carry her around the park and its fossil beds using a special backpack.

“As soon as we got her strapped in, she's like, this is the part I've been waiting for,” Freeman told WLKY.

“When I got to see the fossils and stuff, I was like, wow, that's like, really cool. I haven't gotten to see that before,” Neighbors told the station.

King says that Freeman's generosity nearly brought her to tears.

“It melted my heart,” King said. “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.”

King took to social media to praise Freeman and the staff at Jefferson County Public Schools. So far, the post has been shared thousands of times.

“This is just one physical act that you can see, but we do this countless times throughout the school day and throughout the year,” Freeman told WLKY. “All the teachers here at Tully and JCPS, they work harder than most people realize.”

For Neighbors, however, the generous deed provided a lesson that will likely stick with her for years.

“Never feel like you're left alone,” Neighbors said.

King and representatives for Tully Elementary School did not immediately respond to Yahoo Lifestyle’s requests for comment.

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