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Lifestyle & Human Interest

Teenager Saves All His Money for Two Years To Buy Electric Wheelchair for Friend

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When you have a really good friend, you know what matters most to them. You know how to make them laugh, how to comfort them when they’re sad, and what to get them for really special occasions.

While some friends plan out their birthday or Christmas presents well in advance, few put in the time and effort that this high schooler from Norman, Arkansas, did.

Tanner Wilson and Brandon Qualls are great friends, and both attend Caddo Hills High School. Qualls uses a wheelchair, and for a long time, he had to push himself around on his own power. It worked, but it was exhausting.

“My arms would get really tired and I would have to stop and take rests,” he said, according to THV11.

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Wilson saw his friend struggle day in and day out, and decided to upgrade his wheelchair. Working part-time for two years, Wilson finally scraped up enough cash to purchase a motorized wheelchair, which he presented to Qualls on Feb. 26.

“He’s just been a really good friend and I wanted to do him a favor,” Wilson said. “I just felt like I needed to do it and I wanted to do it.”

“I wish people would care more about others than just their selves,” Wilson told CBS News.

“It was amazing because I didn’t know what he had done for me,” Qualls told KARK. “They came in and my face just blew up…crying everywhere…just like ‘Wow, can’t believe he did that for me!’”

Qualls’ family doesn’t have a vehicle equipped to deal with the motorized wheelchair, so for now, it has to stay at the school.

“For the past three years I’ve wanted to get him one and I mean, I’ve been trying,” Wilson said.

“There’s many people out here that have troubles and need a little bit of help,” he added. “Sometimes they can’t do it for themselves.”

“I feel like life is a little too short to, you know, be judging everybody and you should think more of others than just yourself.”

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“He loves to do for others,” confirmed teacher Kathy Baker. “He loves to take up for others. He is just a great young man.”

The story of their friendship and Wilson’s inspiring gift started with the school and has quickly gone viral.

“We would like to share some love,” the Caddo Hills School District posted on Feb. 26. “Today Tanner Wilson, Caddo Hill’s Senior, surprised his fellow classmate Brandon Qualls with a motorized wheelchair.”

“We are so grateful for the heartfelt surprise from one Indian to another. Tanner has been saving for two years to show his appreciation and friendship for Brandon.”

For Wilson, spending two years to see his friend happy was a fair trade-off: “Kids ask me was it worth it?” he said. “Yeah, 100 percent.”

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Amanda holds an MA in Rhetoric and TESOL from Cal Poly Pomona. After teaching composition and logic for several years, she's strayed into writing full-time and especially enjoys animal-related topics.
As of January 2019, Amanda has written over 1,000 stories for The Western Journal but doesn't really know how. Graduating from California State Polytechnic University with a MA in Rhetoric/Composition and TESOL, she wrote her thesis about metacognitive development and the skill transfer between reading and writing in freshman students.
She has a slew of interests that keep her busy, including trying out new recipes, enjoying nature, discussing ridiculous topics, reading, drawing, people watching, developing curriculum, and writing bios. Sometimes she has red hair, sometimes she has brown hair, sometimes she's had teal hair.
With a book on productive communication strategies in the works, Amanda is also writing and illustrating some children's books with her husband, Edward.
Austin, Texas
Languages Spoken
English und ein bißchen Deutsch
Topics of Expertise
Faith, Animals, Cooking