Acts of Kindness
Dad’s online plea for 5-year-old son in wheelchair is answered by group of teens
Rain, snow or shine Ryder's parents had to keep their wheelchair-bound son outside so that he could board the school bus, but it posed a problem for the young boy.
Sasha Alonzo

Public transportation isn’t all that great over here in the states. It’s even worse for people with disabilities. Thankfully, the ingenuity of some kind people may have just solved a problem – for one boy, at least.


Life in a wheelchair

Most mornings start the same for Ryder Kilam, a 5-year-old boy in a wheelchair.

Each weekday that he has school, he goes outside to wait for the bus. After his parents take him outside, the bus then picks him up from the bottom of the sidewalk and takes him to Dunn’s Corners Elementary School. All of this is complicated by the fact that Ryder can’t walk.

Going to the bus stop early

Since the house is around 75 feet away from the bottom of the driveway, Ryder had to prematurely go outside or he could miss the bus.


Rain or shine

The solution his parents came up with was to just be extra early. Most kids would be able to wait inside until they see the bus coming down the street and run out, but for Ryder, that clearly isn’t an option.

As a result, Ryder is outside at the bottom of the driveway, no matter the weather.


A parents request

Rain or snow and Ryder is outside! His parents did their best to make it comfortable for him, even going so far as to put out a patio umbrella to keep the rain off. Still, it wasn’t a perfect solution and the tiniest bit of wind was enough to negate the covering of the umbrella.

Wanting a better solution, Ryder’s parents put out a request on Facebook, looking for help.

“So we decided to reach out to the community, we actually put a post on Facebook looking for friends that maybe new somebody that had one that they were no longer using.” – WJAR10

Spotted by a teacher

It didn’t get much traction until it was picked up by an unlikely group – the Construction Technology class at the nearby Westerly High School. Dan McKena, the teacher of the class, saw the post and knew this was an amazing opportunity to be kind AND for the students to practice their skills.

McKena immediately accepted and got his class to work on building their very own “bus hut” for Ryder!


“I think my first email was, absolutely we’re in,” said McKena. “We’ve done other projects before. I think it’s very important for my students to learn not only the aspects of construction but of being involved in the community dealing with people outside of the school environment.”

Donations from Home Depot

Home Depot donated about $300 worth of wood and the Kilam family bought the rest. Once the supplies were purchased, it was time to build! The resulting structure was ADA accessible (thanks to Ryder’s older brother in the class) and perfect for the soon-coming weather!

Ryder loved the hut so much that he actually spend EXTRA time in it!

“He loves it, he actually after school makes us stay out here and hang out now it’s his new fort so he gets home,” said Kilam.

An inspiring project

To the students, it wasn’t just a project, but a way to show their love and kindness to a little boy who was in need. You better believe that Ryder is going to look up to those “cool high schoolers” for the rest of his life!

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By Sasha Alonzo
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Sasha Alonzo is a contributor at SBLY Media.