Oromocto family grateful for community kindness

A family from Oromocto, N.B., is thankful for a community gesture that means one of their kids will find it easier to get around in his wheelchair.

Liam Murphy, 5, has autism, spina bifida, hydrocephalus and went through seven brain surgeries in the first nine months of his life. 

His parents quickly gave him the nickname Superman Kid because of his bravery. 

"All the nurses say that he's like the easiest little patient to deal with — he takes everything in stride," said Liam's father, Sam.

When Liam started kindergarten in September, he started using a wheelchair more often than he did before because he had to get around school and onto the bus.

Gary Moore/CBC

But his family's house wasn't quite equipped for the change and never had a ramp to help get Liam in and out of the home.

"Trying to like, drag it up two little stairs that were there and then drag it into the house — and we decided that enough was enough and we needed to start doing something," said Sam.

That's when Liam's mother, Amanda, put out a call on Facebook to ask some friends for some help to build a ramp. 

But the message spread beyond her friends and reached strangers in the community, completely overwhelming the family. 

Gary Moore/CBC

Local contractor Brad Bates saw the Murphy's message and got in touch with them and said he wanted to help out with the ramp. 

"It was just the right thing to do," said Bates, who ended up raising enough money to cover the materials and a donation to the family. 

Bates and a handful of friends went to the Murphy home and built the ramp one day while Liam was at school with just enough time to spare before Liam got home. 

Super surprise

Bates hadn't met Liam until his school bus dropped him off that afternoon.

"The key moment there, I think he reached over and gave me a bit of a hug and that was a big surprise because I wasn't sure if he really understood what was going on," Bates said.

Submitted/Brad Bates

"I won't forget that — it was pretty nice."

Liam's father Sam said it's a pretty rare reaction from his son and he could tell Liam was grateful.

Bates had one more gift for Liam. 

Knowing his nickname is Superman Kid, he gave him a Superman costume which his parents said was a special surprise.