Waco man regains independence after community unites to buy him new wheelchair lift

Published: Jun. 9, 2022 at 6:37 PM CDT
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WACO, Texas (KWTX) - A manager at Bitty & Beau’s Coffee Shop in Waco, a business that employs those with disabilities, drove to work in his own truck Thursday, independently, for the first time since February after the community came together to buy him a new wheelchair lift when his unexpectedly stopped working.

Jimmy Moreno, 39, was born with Spina Bifida and has lived his life in a wheelchair, but that’s never stopped him from doing anything, including working full-time.

Without a chair lift or the $5,000 to replace it, Jimmy continued driving to work in his truck, but had to make sure a friend was there to help him in and out of his wheelchair.

Sara Davidson has known Jimmy since she started volunteering in the Challenger League for players with disabilities in 1995.

She said she couldn’t just sit back while her friend, known for his positive attitude and advocacy for others, struggled. She decided to organize an online fundraiser to pay for the lift.

THEN AND NOW:  Jimmy with Sarah Davidson and other friends.
THEN AND NOW: Jimmy with Sarah Davidson and other friends.(KWTX)

“Jimmy is probably the most loyal and dependable person who I know, and so not being able to take himself places, and not being able to use his lift, really took a toll on his independence,” Sara said. “I don’t know that, really, any of us that organized everything felt like we needed to make a decision to help. It was just, ‘well here is a problem for our friend and how we can solve it.’”

Sara said the post took off and, within a day, the money was raised.

“Just posting and sharing, we got the lift funded within 24 hours and I think that just is a testament to Jimmy and the kind of person he is and how much he means to all of us,” she said.

It took a few months for the lift to arrive and the labor to be done, but thanks to Elizabeth Rodgers, who read about the fundraiser online, Jimmy didn’t have to wait that long for relief.

Elizabeth stopped by to see Jimmy at the coffee shop and told him her husband also used a wheelchair and the couple had a wheelchair accessible van they could loan him.

Jimmy at work
Jimmy at work(KWTX)

“If it wasn’t for her, let’s be honest, I would have had to quit my job,” Jimmy said. “I would have had to stop everything that I was doing because there was no way for me to get around.”

Sara said she’s so happy for Jimmy’s life to get back to normal.

“We are all just happy that he is back on the road and is able to enjoy the accessibility that I think we all take for granted,” Sara said.

Jimmy said he’s thankful for the community of people who came together in his time of need.

“It’s awesome. It’s so great, and I’d have never had the money to do it myself,” Jimmy said.

“I’m so excited to be back in my truck.”

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