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Kindness Leads to New Ride For South Florida Man With Cerebral Palsy

Chen Med surprised Jonathan Barnes with a specially equipped van

NBC Universal, Inc.

Since a crash totaled his family's specialty van in December 2021, 34-year-old Jonathan Barnes has had a tough time getting around town.

His dad, Joe, has had to physically carry him in and out of the family car to get to places. Jonathan is too heavy for his mom.

“He’s a lot bigger than me,” Victoria Barnes explained.

Jonathan uses a wheelchair as he has cerebral palsy and is blind in both eyes. Supply chain backups have kept his family from being able to order and outfit a new van to get him to places like church and his doctor appointments.

When NBC 6 first shared his story in January, executives at South Florida-based Chen Med took notice.

“When we saw that the Barnes family needed a vehicle with the wheelchair lift in it, well, we knew just where to get one,” said Jeff Opperman, Senior Director for Communications.

The company uses vehicles just like what the Barnes family needed to transport patients.

“They showed up and they surprised us with this van,” said Victoria. “So therefore, now we have a van that we can transport Jonathan in.”

Instead of heavy lifting, Joe and Victoria can now push a few buttons, roll Jonathan into the wheelchair lift and strap him in.

“It feels good to have a brand new van,” said Jonathan.

For his family, it’s an over-the-top answer to prayer. And for Joe, his back feels much better.

“It’s exceedingly abundantly above what I would have ever even thought or imagined,” said Victoria.

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