Ryan Neighbors, a student at the Tully Elementary School in Louisville, Kentucky was sure she was going to miss out on a school trip to the Falls of the Ohio. A wheelchair user, Ryan knew that the terrain around the falls would not be accessible to her, however, school teacher Jim Freeman stepped in to save the day when he offered to carry Ryan on his back during the field trip.
Ryan’s mother, Shelly King, reports that the 10-year old had given up on attending the trip along with her classmates but was blown away when her teacher told her of his plans to make sure she was not left at home. Ryan was born with spina bifida, a condition that is the result of the spine and spinal cord not forming properly.
Jim Freeman, the teacher who carried Ryan, teaches the class next door to hers and this is what made his story go viral – he did it as an entirely selfless act to make sure that Ryan got the same great experience of the Falls as her classmates. In fact, Ryan did not have a relationship with Jim at all before the trip which makes his actions even more special.
Just Excited to Be Able to Come Along!
Ryan was really excited to be able to attend the trip and that she was going to be able to do so independently because her mom was to remain at home. There were lots of photos of Ryan enjoying the time away too, and she said how nice it was to be able to join in with her friends and to make some shared memories.
During the trip, Jim carried Ryan in a carrier that he had strapped to his back. She said that her friends were a little jealous because they had to walk all the way and she got a free ride!
Ryan has a really special message for Jim too “Thank you. I felt really special” She didn’t know Jim before the trip but now she says she absolutely loves him. Freeman himself does not feel he did anything that extraordinary and points to the countless unseen acts that teachers perform for their students on a daily basis.
King would disagree – she feels blessed that her daughter’s school is so compassionate and inclusive and that her daughter is never left to miss out. Freeman’s act has gone viral after King posted Ryan’s story, it has been shared over 1000 times and has received over 200 comments.