An elementary school teacher from Kentucky is melting hearts this week after a photo of him carrying a student on his back during a class field trip.
10-year-old Ryan Neighbors has spina bifida and has been bound to a wheelchair her entire life. Unfortunately, limited wheelchair access poses a challenge for the young girl, often causing her to miss out on class field trips.
After learning that the fourth-grade class would be taking a trip to the Falls of Ohio Park this year, Ryan’s family began making their own plans for an “alternate field trip day,” as the park was “obviously, NOT accessible.”
That’s when Jim Freeman stepped in. The teacher at Tully Elementary School teaches in the classroom next door to Ryan’s. Determined that she not miss out on a class field trip because of her wheelchair, Freeman volunteered to carry the fourth-grader on a specially made backpack through the outdoor terrain.
Ryan’s mom, Shelly King, posted her gratitude on Facebook
If i haven’t bragged on my kids school enough – well, listen to this.
They are going on a field trip to Falls Of The…
“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.”
Freeman says his actions are just one of the many ways all of the teachers in the Jefferson County Public School District go above and beyond for their students every day.
“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.”
But perhaps the most poignant lesson from the whole experience was not fossils or even Freeman’s kindness. It was the inclusion that Ryan felt, which she used to encourage others with one simple statement:
“Never feel like you’re left alone.”