An organization called Magic Wheelchair recently worked with the NYPD to give a special Christmas present to a young man with cerebral palsy whose dad happens to be a police officer. They made his wheelchair into a police car. And we don’t mean they painted his actual wheelchair to look like a police car. They built him a replica car. Here it is.
Aidan Riley, 16, is clearly delighted with his replica cruiser. It even had his name and the badge number of his father on it. His dad was shocked at how amazing it was.
“Oh my God, I tried to envision it, you know, the past couple of days,” Officer Merritt Riley said. “But I never could envision what it turned out to be.”
Officer Merritt Riley is a 24-year veteran of the NYPD. Five years ago, he and his partner created a foundation that supports officers with special needs children, NYPD with Arms Wide Open. The foundation was noticed by Magic Wheelchair, who wanted to do something super special for the son of the man who cares so much about his cause of supporting other officers who have special needs children.
From Magic Wheelchair’s website:
Magic Wheelchair is a nonprofit organization that builds epic costumes for kiddos in wheelchairs — at no cost to families.
Our vision is to put a smile on the face of every child in a wheelchair by transforming their wheelchairs into awesomeness created by our hands and their imaginations.
On the NYPD with Arms Wide Open website, Riley explains what Aidan has meant in his life.
“Aidan has changed my life, he has taught me and inspired so much from the wheelchair in which he sits, more so than any able bodied person would be able to. The determination, Courage and strength Aidan exhibits every day is nothing short of heroic, he is the best Teacher I’ve ever had.”
Officer Riley was surprised when he was contacted by Magic Wheelchair.
“The Magic Wheelchair had found out about our foundation, contacted us, and it just all came together,” Merritt Riley said.
While paid for by Magic Wheelchair, the car was built by the NYPD Fleet Service Division. It took two months to build and features flashing lights and sirens that were salvaged from older police cruisers. One of its builders got emotional.
“It was probably the greatest gift I could have ever imagined,” said Vartan Khachadurian, of the NYPD Fleet Services Division. “Sorry, getting emotional. But I love it.”
For Aidan’s dad, the real present was the joy that this generous gift brought to his son. The smile on his face said it all.