Parents

Home Depot employees create special custom walker for boy with rare disease

All of Jessica Johnson's doubts about her recent move from Oregon to Texas washed away the minute a few kind Home Depot employees entered her life.

Her 2-year-old son, Silus Johnson, was born with a rare genetic eye disorder called Norrie disease, which delays muscle development and, in cases like Silus', can lead to blindness.

Since the toddler's already grown out of his store-bought walker, his great-grandfather, Gilbert Hernandez, headed over to the Home Depot in North Richland Hills, Texas, to pick up some tools on Aug. 15. He approached assistant manager Matthew Spencer to find out what wheels he recommended — but he never expected what came next.

Courtesy of Jessica Johnson
Silus Johnson in his new walker.

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Once Spencer discovered what Hernandez was trying to do, he walked him over to employees Eric Bindel and Christopher Wright, who assured him they had it from there.

"All three of us have 2-year-old sons so this project hit home for us and we wanted to do something special for him," Spencer, 27, told TODAY.

Four days later, Johnson and Hernandez returned to the store and brought Silus with them. They had built a specialized walker fitted just for Silus at no cost — and even came in on their days off to work on the project.

"I was speechless," Johnson told TODAY. "Watching Silus use it to walk around the store brought me to tears."

Courtesy of Jessica Johnson
Home Depot employees Christopher Wright, Matthew Spencer and Erin Bindel with Silus, who is trying out the new walker they made him.

The Home Depot employees didn't expect Silus to adjust to it so fast.

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"As soon as we put him in it, he spent a couple minutes getting a feel for the new walker and was touching it, but then he just took off and started rolling," Spencer said. "It was really cool to see."

Silus has been loving it at home, too, and doesn't have to worry about growing out of this one because they made it adjustable.

"I was still trying to get used to living in Texas," said Johnson, "and for someone to do this for Silus without even knowing him made me happy I made the decision I did."

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