A 30-year-old man with special needs finally received the first birthday party of his life after he was taken in by his former teacher following the death of his father.
Two months ago, Chris Barrington was found by the Gatesville Sheriff’s Department as he walked alone down a Texas highway, according to KWTX. Barrington had been wandering down the highway for two days, and the department would learn that his father had recently lost his strength to move due to the progression of late-stage leukemia.
When asked if he had any other family, the only name Barrington was able to recall to authorities was his former middle school teacher, Michell Girard, who hadn’t seen him in years.
With Barrington in need of a caretaker, Girard felt compelled to help her former student.
“I said, ‘What happens if I don’t take him? Will he get in a group home?’ [And] they said no, he’d go into an institution,” Girard told the news station. “I said not on my watch he’s not.”
Girard is now striving to attain guardianship of Barrington after his father died from the disease on Aug. 1.
Barrington had never celebrated his birthday or any other holidays, KWTX reported, and Girard quickly set out to change that.
“He’s never had a birthday present, a birthday party, he’s never had Christmas, Thanksgiving, nothing,” she said. “So this year is going to be full of firsts.”
Earlier this month, Girard threw Barrington his first birthday party ever, and with the help of a local fishing company, JMB Fishing, he also went on his first boat ride.
“You know, there are so many things that kids want to do,” JMB Fishing owner Jimmy Bennett told KWTX. “They want to go to Disney. I have one that wants to go to Hawaii on a shark fishing trip. Chris is happy to come out on Lake Waco and ride around on a boat. That’s all he wants to do.”
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Despite the loss of his father, Barrington has found himself in loving hands thanks to a kindhearted teacher who’s looking after him years after he was in her classroom.
“He deserves a good life,” Girard said. “He’s had a hard life.”