LOUISVILLE, KY (WAVE) - A local woman took an hour-long trek to work every day because she didn’t have a car. When the staff at the Heuser Hearing and Language Academy found out they teamed up to help make her journey a little easier.
Aileena Kennedy had to bike to school every day until she was forced to walk when someone stole her bike. Her team members thought that was unacceptable and got an answer to her problems in just one week. Kennedy is known as Smiles at the Heuser Hearing and Language Academy because despite her personal challenges she always brings joy to everyone around her.
"I’m just real thankful [with] whatever God blesses me to be able to do,” Kennedy said. “Whatever he blesses me with I’m just happy. Even [when] my bike got stolen I walked all the way to work.”
Kennedy walked to work, until her co-workers found out. They started a mission to get Kennedy a bike, then they went a little bigger. Education Director Debbie Wood and other employees and Heuser reached out to their friends and community for help.
"It’s very rare to meet someone as kind and empathetic as Smiles,” Woods said.
In a week Kennedy’s co-workers found a car, fixed it and on Monday morning her trek to work got shorter, warmer and easier.
“[I feel] almost like I’m Ellen or Oprah,” Woods said. “I know how they feel to give away things to someone so deserving.”
The 2000 Jeep represents more to Kennedy and her team at Heuser.
"Let’s our kids know, yes we are disabled, but we can help others too,” Woods said.
The woman known for her grin has another reason to smile even harder.
“I’m just so grateful and thankful,” Kennedy said. “It’s overwhelming."
Kennedy just has to take care of the insurance for the Jeep. A mechanic will take care of repairs for free.