When 10-year-old Ryan King got a permission slip for a school field trip, her mom braced her for disappointment. Ryan has spina bifida and uses a wheelchair. It's sometimes difficult for her to fully participate many field trips and, while her school often helps her find alternate activities, she has had to miss out in the past.
"Her school's been really great making [field trips] educational-based for us," Ryan's mom, Shelly King, told CBS News. The Kentucky school planned a field trip for the nearby Falls of the Ohio, a fossil bed on the Ohio River that requires hiking along rugged terrain.
There's a museum Ryan and her mom could've visited instead, but that would mean missing out on what the other kids got to do.
Ryan was determined to go on the hike, so her mom decided she would try and carry Ryan in a special backpack. King was prepared to chaperone the trip and carry her daughter the whole way, but someone reached out with a suggestion.
A teacher named Jim Freeman — who is not even Ryan's teacher — offered to do the carrying. "He was like 'Hey, I'll carry her, no big deal,'" King said.
This meant the world to Ryan, who King says "is your average 10-year-old who wants to be independent from her mother and be with her friends and be cool."
Freeman said he was happy to take on that physical challenge. He carried the fourth grader around in 90 degree weather for about an hour, King said.
"That's 50 pounds dead weight, she can't wrap her legs around you," King told CBS News. "Usually I'm used to doing these things for her because I'm a mom and that's what moms do." But this time, Freeman's help was much appreciated.
King posted photos on Facebook showing the teacher carrying her daughter and the story went viral. "To know he stepped up and was willing to use [the carrier] and take on that labor — so many special needs moms reached out and said it meant the world to see."
Ryan had a great time on the trip too — she said the other kids were jealous of her. "This is what I've been waiting for," Ryan said about participating in the field trip.
User: Team Ryan To: link