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Gym Manager's Act of Kindness for Man with Down Syndrome Goes Viral

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Can you recall a time when you were just having “one of those days” when everything seemed to not go your way?

Maybe you couldn’t get your kids out the door in time for school, or you spilled hot coffee in your car on the way to work.

Lisa Simpson can definitely relate. On Feb. 18, everything that could go wrong seemed to have done so, according to The Providence Journal.

Simpson serves as a caretaker for a 22-year-old man named Christopher Wagner Jr. who has Down syndrome and Simpson spends a good deal of time helping him live his life to the best.

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One of Wagner’s favorite activities involve working out at a nearby Planet Fitness, and Simpson would drive him. Yet as she took him to exercise on that day, circumstances started to go awry in spectacular fashion.

Simpson noticed her car was running low on gas as they drove to the gym, KMBC reported. However, when she stopped to fill it up, she found that the gas cap had frozen shut.

Then she noticed that she’d grabbed the wrong bag, leaving her wallet at home. And things only got worse once they got to the gym.

When they arrived at Planet Fitness, Simpson saw that Wagner didn’t have on his exercise shoes. Instead, he was wearing ankle-high boots, which made much of his workout routine impossible.

“I put my head in my hands, and I’m just like, … ‘Now what am I going to do?’ Because I know I can’t go buy him shoes because I don’t have any money,” Simpson said.

“And I can’t go all the way to Burrillville and back because my gas cap is frozen. I was just like, … ‘What else is going to happen today?’”

Well, something else indeed happened, but it wasn’t the disaster that Simpson expected. Instead, Daniel Cote, the manager of the Planet Fitness in Woonsocket, Rhode Island, stepped up to help.

As a young man, Cote had experienced a hard upbringing and knew what it was like to suffer.

“I ended up under foster families and group homes, more group homes though because even with foster families I argued, I acted out,” he told WPRI-TV.

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Yet he said that his position at the gym changed him and he “started interacting with the members here.” One of the people he connected with was Wagner.

So when Cote saw that Wagner lacked the proper footwear, he did something simultaneously simple and extraordinary: He went and bought the special-needs man a pair of athletic shoes.

Not only did he make the purchase, but he also got down on his knees and put them on Wagner’s feet.

“The position I’m in now,” he said, “I feel like I need to give back because I didn’t have everything.”

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A graduate of Wheaton College with a degree in literature, Loren also adores language. He has served as assistant editor for Plugged In magazine and copy editor for Wildlife Photographic magazine.
A graduate of Wheaton College with a degree in literature, Loren also adores language. He has served as assistant editor for Plugged In magazine and copy editor for Wildlife Photographic magazine. Most days find him crafting copy for corporate and small-business clients, but he also occasionally indulges in creative writing. His short fiction has appeared in a number of anthologies and magazines. Loren currently lives in south Florida with his wife and three children.
Education
Wheaton College
Location
Florida
Languages Spoken
English
Topics of Expertise
Entertainment, Faith, Travel




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