Generous Kentuckiana residents help mother take son to school

Erik Riley
Erik Riley
Karen Riley
Karen Riley

LOUISVILLE, KY (WAVE) - We asked and you answered, helping WAVE 3 get results. Wednesday morning, we took a phone call from a mother who needed help getting her son to the special school he's scheduled to attend. Within minutes of us posting it on Facebook, several people agreed to help.

Karen Riley is proud of her son, Erik.

"He's joyful and he's very intelligent," she said. "He makes friends easily. He's studious, loves to study."

She's also proud of the obstacles he's overcome.

"Erik was born blind in '93," Riley explained.

Erik is taking the next step in his education this weekend, heading to the Louisiana Center for the Blind.

"I worry about my son living on his own and it's going to give him the skills to live on his own," said Karen.

"I believe myself that it will be life changing for me," Erik explained.

But just before taking the trip that will change Erik's life, as it so often seems to do, life threw in a wrench.

"My van broke down," Karen explained.

Used to giving to charity, Karen found herself looking for help.

"To be on the other end, not giving now but having to receive and ask for help ... it's been hard," she said.

She called a number of charities, then WAVE. Within minutes of us posting her story on our Facebook page, a Good Samaritan, local attorney Brendan McLeod saw something in Karen and Erik's story and stepped in to help. He offered to rent them a car for the road trip.

"I thought, this is a no-brainer," McLeod said. "I have a friend that's blind, a really good friend, and he's been extremely successful and I'm not sure that it would even be considered a handicap ... so if this lady wants to get her son to this level, who am I to say that I shouldn't jump in and help?"

Now Erik and Karen are back on the road to Erik's education and planning ways they can repay McLeod's kindness.

"I'd like to say thank you, thank you, thank you so much," Erik said.

"I love to bake. I'm thinking about making him a cake," Karen said, "but just repaying his money back and just giving him a big hug and a thank you."

McLeod is not alone. Several other people offered to help on Facebook too. Tim Shain even sent us an offer to donate his frequent flyer miles for a plane ticket for Erik.

Erik will be away at school for nine months. After that, he returns home with his new skills and the hope of attending college.

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