Last week, a 2-year-old boy with special needs received a gift from employees at a Home Depot store in North Richland Hills, Texas, near Fort Worth.
Silus Johnson has Norrie Disease, which causes blindness and atrophied muscles, and he needed a miniature walker to assist with his mobility, reports the Dallas Fox News affiliate KDFW.
The National Institutes of Health define Norrie disease as “an inherited eye disorder that leads to blindness in male infants at birth or soon after birth.” It can lead to numerous problems, as the government agency explains:
About one third of individuals with Norrie disease develop progressive hearing loss, and more than half experience developmental delays in motor skills such as sitting up and walking. Other problems may include mild to moderate intellectual disability, often with psychosis, and abnormalities that can affect circulation, breathing, digestion, excretion, or reproduction.
When Home Depot associates, as they’re known at the giant home improvement retailer, discovered that Silas needed a specially-sized walker, they got to work and built one using PVC pipe and other materials, living up to the company’s Nike-inspired advertising slogan “Let’s Do This.”
Associate Chris Wright told the station: “I used the foam around the edges to make it soft, rope to secure the seat. Reflective tape on it to kind of help it stand out if they’re out in public or something so that way you can see him.”
Supervisor Eric Bindel added: “As soon as we put him in there, it was just really cool…. He started feeling around on it. You could tell he was happy. He was excited, basically. He started laughing and then started using his little feet to push himself backwards. I had a big smile. Everybody had a big smile, maybe a couple little tears here and there.”
The new walker has made Silus more independent, noted his mother Jessica Johnson. “We need to recognize these gentlemen who put their heart and hard work into making this for my son,” she said.