Fill-in school bus driver builds ramp for disabled girl

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CLARKSVILLE, Tenn. — This slideshow requires JavaScript.

A mechanic in northern Tennessee built a wheelchair ramp for a disabled girl he hardly knew.

Tom Mitchell, of Clarksville, works on school buses and occasionally fills in to drive one.

His route includes bringing a group of special needs children to their school. Recently, he was filling in and noticed a wheelchair-bound little girl having trouble getting out of her house and onto the bus.

Lydia’s mom, Verna Despain, said her daughter has a seizure disorder, which stunted her development.

The stone steps at Lydia’s house are a problem, so Mitchell decided to build her a brand new ramp.

“Everyday she would come out and struggle with this small little area and this aluminum ramp that didn’t go to the top step.”

He rounded up a few friends and together they’ve made Lydia’s life much easier.

Mitchell said Despain was overjoyed.

“It’s those little things that people take for granted,” she said. “And maybe I didn’t even realize my predicament, because I’m so used to doing it solo.” 

The local hardware store also donated the wood to help build the ramp. 

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