Boy's missing walker found

By Patrick O’Sullivan -
1 comment
REACTIVATED: Justin Richter's walker, stolen from outside his school, has been returned. PHOTO/DUNCAN BROWN
REACTIVATED: Justin Richter's walker, stolen from outside his school, has been returned. PHOTO/DUNCAN BROWN

Justin Richter's stolen walker has been found.

The 7-year-old has brittle bone disease and needs his walker to venture from his wheelchair.

It was found by someone who also needs a walker to get out of her wheelchair.

The walker was accidentally left behind outside Taikura Rudolf Steiner School in Hastings last Wednesday when Justin's mother, Marina Richter, picked him up and started to drive off.

Realising the blue walker was not in the car, she returned to the front of the school, but it was gone.

She asked nearby residents if they had seen it and one said another neighbour took it.

"They said they had taken it but then put it out again," she said.

"It is all a bit funny - I don't think it is going to come back from that direction," she told Hawke's Bay Today.

"They may tire of it and throw it over a fence eventually, that is why I thought it would be good to put our phone number in. I thought somebody would read it and phone us."

Hawke's Bay Today ran a story on Saturday detailing Justin's plight. He is not allowed out of his wheelchair without the walker in case he makes a sudden move or falls, which could break a bone.

Roderick Gay, the owner of Able Mobility @ Hector Jones, also contacted Mrs Richter on Saturday when he read the story and offered her a new walker for Justin.

"I said that I wanted to restore her faith in the community and give a little light after their horrible ordeal," he said.

Two more offers were made to Mrs Richter, with a man offering to buy a new walker and a lady offering a used walker.

Mrs Richter said the offers were very generous but she hoped to find the stolen walker because it was custom made.

Wheelchair-bound Mayfair resident Jennie Codlin spied the walker beside the railway tracks at Frederick St on Friday night when driving to the Mahora shops.

"When we were coming back I said to my husband, 'Pull over and have a look - somebody has ditched that'," she said.

She saw the story at the weekend and rang Mrs Richter and told her of the undamaged walker.

She picked up the walker on Monday night and gave Mrs Codlin flowers and a gift, but the real reward came from Justin.

"When he saw the walker, the little boy just beamed," Mrs Codlin said.

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