Palm Beach

Family Pleads for Return of Wheelchair Belonging to West Palm Beach Boy With Spina Bifida

“We were thinking that maybe someone was playing a joke"

Jesus Gabriel's family says someone took the boy's wheelchair from the front yard of their suburban West Palm Beach home and the 5-year-old desperately needs it back.

Jesus went everywhere in his custom-made wheelchair. His uncle, Eddie Velasquez, says spina bifida makes it nearly impossible otherwise, WPTV reports.

“Now that he doesn’t have his chair, he won’t be able to go to school anymore,” Velasquez said.

At school, he’s in speech therapy, learning Spanish and English. It’s where his friends are. He really does love it.

To catch the 7 a.m. school bus every morning, Jesus’ mom first brings his wheelchair out and puts it next to the street. She then goes back inside to get Jesus before sending him off to school.

In a matter of minutes Thursday morning, however, the wheelchair was gone – perhaps by mistake.

“We were thinking that maybe someone was playing a joke – hiding it, you know?” Velasquez said. “She was looking for it and couldn’t find it. It’s serious, you know. Someone took it and wasn’t going to return it.”

Velasquez says the specialty made wheelchair is worth about $2,000. It truly is priceless, though.

“Hopefully somebody watching will return it,” Velasquez said.

Anyone with information is urged to call Velasquez at 561-201-4668.

WPTV reached out to Solid Waste Authority, which said they are checking with their contracted hauler to see if they picked up the wheelchair Thursday.

WPTV said someone who wishes to remain anonymous said they would buy Jesus a wheelchair.

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