Bus Driver Builds Wheelchair Ramp For Student He Just Met: Her Smile Was All I Needed

This story originally appeared on Babble and is reprinted with permission.

Thomas Mitchell via Babble

When Thomas Mitchell filled in as a temporary bus driver in Tennessee, he witnessed mom Verna DeSpain struggling to get her 10-year-old daughter Lydia down the steps of her porch and onto the bus. The stairs were just not cutting it for her daughter's wheelchair. Mitchell couldn't stand idly by - he knew he needed to help.

Mitchell tells Babble:

"I covered the route for a couple of weeks. But it was on the first day that I noticed Verna and Lydia could use some help. After the second and third day I knew I was going to do something to make their situation better."

Mitchell attributes his actions to one thing - kindness. He says, "I wanted to help because I saw someone who needed it. It's just how my wife and I are. It's how we were raised. You don't turn a blind eye or act as though there isn't a need."

The situation also hit home for him. "My wife suffers from some pretty debilitating chronic illness and at times will have partial paralysis and will need a wheelchair," Mitchell explains. Which further motivated him to lend a helping hand to the family.

Thomas Mitchell via Babble

He continues:
"I had heard about some organizations that help families who are in need of ramps. I contacted those organizations about Lydia and learned that they either couldn't do it or didn't have the funding to do it. That was when I made the decision to contact Lowe's to see if they could help me."

The kindness continues, as David Adams from Lowe's told Mitchell to bring his truck to the store and "grab what you need!" So, Mitchell and his friends set out to assist the family. Luckily one is a master carpenter, so the ramp only took 2 1/2 hours to build. It was truly a group effort!

Thomas Mitchell via Babble

And their favorite part was revealing the completed ramp to the family.

"Lydia's reaction was priceless! When she came out and saw the ramp for the first time, a huge smile came across her face. Her smile was all the guys and I needed. You could see how happy it made her," says Mitchell.

As for Lydia's mother? "She was extremely grateful and is still very appreciative," says Mitchell. He and his wife have even become friends with the DeSpains.

The good vibes keep on coming. Their act of kindness has gone viral after being posted on the school's Facebook page. The video has since received over 42K views and 650 shares.

Mitchell was shocked. He said, "None of us expected this to take off like it has. The response has been overwhelming. We didn't realize that this kind of act was out of the ordinary." In response, people have reached out to share their stories and experiences, thanking them for bringing awareness to the special needs community.

Thomas Mitchell via Babble

Mitchell and his friends taking the time to help someone in need is truly inspiring, proving that a little bit of empathy can go a long way.

h/t: Huffington Post

More on Babble:
After Giving Up Foster Dog, Girl Leaves Heartfelt Instructions on How to Love Him
7-Year-Old Boy Raises Over 13,000 Pounds of Food for Kids in Need
A New Boys' T-Shirt from Target Is Getting Attention for All the Right Reasons
Copyright © 2020 WABC-TV. All Rights Reserved.