For most teachers, there are certain students who fade from memory, and there are other students who stand out – students who those teachers remember for a long time to come. For Lacrecia Smith, Brandon Sudge was one such student. “Of all the students I’ve taught,” she said, “of all the years I’ve taught, Brandon just left a special impression on me. He will always have a special place in my heart.”
Brandon is 16 years old now, but even though Lacrecia Smith had him in her class way back in second grade, she remembered him when she had an opportunity to nominate someone for a “random act of kindness.” Brandon had no idea this “random act of kindness” was coming…and even when it came, he could never have imagined just how marvelous this surprise would be.
Brandon has cerebral palsy, and he has been in a wheelchair all his life. As with any 16-year-old, however, one thing Brandon particularly craves at the moment is something that is quite simple for most 16-year-olds to get their hands on: a bit of independence. Because Brandon cannot drive his parents’ van, however, and because – in fact – even some of the doorways in his family’s house are too narrow for him to navigate his wheelchair through (requiring him to use a cane and get the help of his mother to make his way into those rooms), independence is not nearly as easy for Brandon to achieve.
With this “random act of kindness” for which he was nominated, however, things have suddenly become a whole lot easier for Brandon, and for his path toward independence!
On a random Friday morning, as Brandon got ready for school, a crew arrived at his house and presented him with a handful of presents: tickets to an Atlanta Braves game, a gift certificate to the Hard Rock Cafe, and a stay at a Marriott hotel in downtown Atlanta. At first, Brandon assumed this was the extent of the surprise, but he was wrong in this assumption…very wrong!
The next surprise was a representative from a local building company, informing Brandon that they had signed on to widen the doors in his house, enabling him to navigate his wheelchair through the house with ease!
And then, Brandon was taken to the garage, where a representative from a mobility company told Brandon they were installing hand controls in his parents’ van!
And perhaps best of all, Brandon was given a service dog! This service dog, named Mojo – a gift from Canine Assistants – will go a long way toward helping Brandon achieve the level of independence every young person desires, and will help him move toward his ultimate goal of attending college on his own!
Although it has been nearly 10 years since Lacrecia Smith had Brandon Sudge in her classroom, she has never forgotten him. And now, Brandon is sure to never forget her – and this “random act of kindness – for as long as he lives!