WORCESTER, Mass. – Last Tuesday, as 5-year-old Ariel Nguyen was getting ready for school, his father placed his wheelchair stroller outside the front door. He says he came back a few minutes later and was gone.
“When the bus came I just went over there and where is he? Where’s the… where’s the stroller? He is missing,” said his father Quan Nguyen. “I told my aunt. She said it was over there. I said no it’s not. Even the bus driver says ‘What the hell’ happened? What happened?’ Oh, yeah, someone stole the stroller. I say you’re kidding me.
But it was no joke. A thief who steals from those who need it most.
“She can’t walk to the steps of the bus,” Quan Nguyen said. “She needs someone to hold her to walk.”
” Who do this ? How do you steal a child? said Andrea Castinetti of the Kindness Coalition of Massachusetts.
When she saw the Worcester Police story, she decided to immediately pay the $2,800 for a new stroller and then take any donations from the community, but even she was surprised.
“We actually ended up collecting the money literally in I think four hours, so I technically didn’t have to pay for it,” Castinetti said. “It was really amazing how many people said they wanted to help and we just provided them with the opportunity to step in and help.”
The new stroller will arrive next week. In a time of financial uncertainty, Ariel’s community has shown her what a thief can never steal.
“It’s hard to know that people like that don’t care and don’t realize that these things impact parents,” her aunt Virgen Cruz said. “Things like that, because at the end of the day, sometimes the insurance doesn’t cover that stuff because they just paid, so, you know, sometimes it’s good that the community came up with that.”
“I can’t, there are no words to express it,” Quan said. “I just can’t. After all this, my heart is touched.
“There are amazing people there,” his wife Kristy Nguyen said. “I was shocked. I was like wow, that’s a lot of people. It’s amazing how they are towards my daughter.
If anyone has any information on the stroller, please contact the Detective Bureau by sending an anonymous text to 274637 TIPWPD + your message or send an anonymous web message to worcesterma.gov/police.
Calls can also be made to the Worcester Police Detective Bureau at (508) 799-8651.
The community of Worcester came together and raised $3,400 for the Nguyen family to replace Ariel’s stroller.
The first image is a catalog image of the stroller; the other image is an actual photo of the stolen stroller.
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