A couple of weeks ago, we told you about AMS Vans participating in a “random act of kindness” arranged by local Atlanta TV station WXIA-TV, 11Alive, the city’s NBC affiliate. Two Lassiter High School students, Jessica Wilson and Donnie Gooding, who both have cerebral palsy and use wheelchairs, had a date for their junior prom. Their problem was that they couldn’t go together because neither student’s parents had an wheelchair van capable of carrying two wheelchair passengers at the same time. Jessica’s aunt, Teresa Loftin, stepped in to save the day!
Aunt Teresa called the TV station, which does a regular segment called “Random Acts of Kindness” and asked them to help her with an act of kindness for Jessica and her boyfriend. Her request was chosen, and AMS Vans was contacted by a producer at the station to ask if we’d provide a two-wheelchair-passenger handicap van with room for the two moms, along with a driver, for the night. We said yes in less than a heartbeat, and two days later, we were at Lassiter High School with a van when the 11Alive morning news anchor, Karyn Greer, surprised the kids in class, brought them outside, and showed them their chariot for prom night: a 2-wheelchair passenger handicap van. They were pretty excited!
So were we! I had the sheer pleasure of being at Lassiter High School again this past Saturday (March 16) to take video of the couple on their amazing night, which was warm and clear–perfect for a long-awaited celebration.
Jessica looked lovely in sunny yellow as she put on her yellow-rose wrist corsage. When Donnie got his yellow-rose boutonniere pinned, they took their prom pics at the school. Then the two got in our AMS wheelchair van, with their moms in the back seat, and they were taken to a deluxe restaurant where they met more family members for dinner. The AMS Van was in line with long, black limos as they dropped off prom-goers at the restaurant, and finally, at the world-famous, fabulous Fox Theatre on Peachtree Street in downtown Atlanta, where a smiling, splendidly dressed concierge in a top hat gave them a memorable greeting. Their prom was held in the magnificent Egyptian Ballroom, which is part of the theater.
The photographer from the TV station and I followed them as the entered the ballroom, where dozens of their classmates were already on the dance floor enjoying the music. When the moms wheeled the pair onto the dance floor, their classmates erupted in applause. (I’m glad I brought tissues with me! It was impossible not to be filled with emotion!) The announcement of prom king and queen came later that night, when John and Emma Kate, who were elected king and queen, performed their own random act of kindness at that very moment–which they prearranged. When Lassiter High’s prom royalty walked to the center of the ballroom to begin their dance as king and queen, they brought Jessica and Donnie on the ballroom floor, too–and the night was theirs!
The evening went above and beyond everyone’s expectations, and we were thrilled to be there. I’d like to personally commend and thank AMS Vans driver extraordinaire Doug Radloff, the couple’s chauffeur for the evening, whose charm and skill made them feel comfortable, safe, and as close together as they dreamed of in a limo for two on prom night.
Here’s the 11Alive “Random Acts of Kindness” follow-up story!