Speed Reads

It wasn't all bad

School bus driver builds ramp for student in wheelchair

It's now easier than ever for Verna DeSpain to wheel her 10-year-old daughter, Lydia, into their Clarksville, Tennessee, home.

She used to have to use a folding aluminum ramp that didn't reach the top step to get Lydia inside, but after Thomas Mitchell, a school bus mechanic and Lydia's substitute bus driver, saw how difficult the process was, he decided to do something about it. An area Lowe's provided the materials Mitchell needed for free, and over the course of a day, Mitchell and a group of friends built a permanent ramp for Lydia.

Lydia is nonverbal, but her mother, who told Today she cried "happy tears" when Mitchell told her about his plan, said her daughter was thrilled by the act of kindness. "I told her, 'This is all about you,'" DeSpain said. "'They're here for you.' She just gets really excited."