Kentucky toddler Jordan Eckert refers to his wheelchair as his “legs” because he has no other way to get around.
The 3-year-old suffers from spina bifida, a condition that affects the spinal cord and nerves, making it impossible for him to walk on his own, WCPO reports.
So when Jordan’s custom-made wheelchair was stolen last week, parents John Eckert and Jessica Russell were devastated and unsure what to do.WLWT/Twitter
The father said that the wheelchair was stolen along with their 2016 Rav4 on February 11, when they left the car on in their driveway to warm up for “less than 10 minutes.”
Jordan’s custom wheelchair, which cost upwards of $7,000, was in the trunk of the car.
The parents said they weren’t worried about losing their car, but were more concerned about their son’s wheelchair. The mom told WLWT:
“That was his mobility, and now he’s back to no mobility at all. My son needs that wheelchair. It’s not a want. It’s a necessity. A very serious necessity.”
Despite it being so important to their son’s well-being, they weren’t sure that insurance would cover the cost of a new one.
The local community quickly rallied around the devastated family and donated more than $8,000 for a new wheelchair on YouCaring, the Epoch Times reports.
Then on Wednesday, police spotted the family’s missing vehicle — and Jordan’s wheelchair inside it.
Cincinnati police gave chase to the vehicle on Valentine’s Day and eventually managed to capture a suspect after blowing out the car’s tires with spike strips.
And for Jordan, that meant getting his “legs” back.
The mother confirmed to WCPO that that the little boy now has his prized red and black wheelchair again.
Despite the difficulties caused by the thieves’ actions, the dad said the family still blames themselves because they left the car running:
“At the end of the day, it was our fault. We did it, you know.”
It is illegal to leave a car running and unattended in Kentucky because it leads to an increase in car theft, said police.
The family is now looking for a way to give the community back the $8,000 they so generously raised in order to help little Jordan maintain his independence.