ELIZABETH, NJ – Ben Hertz couldn’t believe the story when he read it on a social media site that a child’s wheelchair had been stolen. “First, I was disgusted. I couldn’t believe someone would steal anything in front of someone’s house, let alone a wheelchair,” said Hertz, manager of Elmora Healthcare and Pharmacy. “Then, I thought maybe I could help.”
The story began Tuesday, September 15, when Keeley Pacheco brought her son Andrew’s wheelchair downstairs as she does every day on Kilsyth Road. When she returned with Andrew to wait for the school bus, she discovered the chair was gone. “I asked the bus driver if she had already put the chair on the bus, and she said no.”
After filing a police report, she put the story out on social media where it got Hertz’s attention. He reached out to the manufacturer Convaid, who to everyone’s astonishment, offered to donate the wheelchair, which is custom-made and costs between $2,500 and $4,000.
“I really didn’t expect Convaid to donate the wheelchair,” said Hertz. “I thought I would buy one. I was going to do whatever I could.”
When Pacheco learned about the donation, she was stunned. “I was in tears and very grateful to all the people, to be so generous about something so huge, to be able to say, ‘Don’t worry. I got this.’ It just goes to show the good outweighs the bad.”
Hertz’s friend, who owns a security company, plans to donate a security system to the Pacheco family to help ensure this does not happen again.