Workers step-up to buy co-worker new wheelchair

WICHITA, Kan. Chances are, if you frequent the North Woodlawn Home Depot, you know John Beehler.

“John is fantastic,” said Assistant Store Manager Brian Hott. “When you roll past the hardware department, the thing about John is, you can hear him usually before you can see him. Usually, it’s some kind of loud, engaging, fun conversation with him laughing down the aisle.”

That positive attitude serves John well as an employee, soon to be 16 years at Home Depot, but also in life in general. John has been in a wheelchair his whole life.

“Things happen,” said Beehler. “Life goes on. You get up. You deal with it. You keep moving… That’s the best way I know how to explain it.”

Recently, John’s co-workers noticed something about John’s wheelchair.

“The problem was, instead of hearing his customer service, we were starting to hear his wheelchair,” Hott said.

“The front casters were bad. The bearings were bad. The seat was bad. The back was bad,” John admitted.

But at around $700 for a replacement chair, John just couldn’t make it happen at the time. So, his work family decided to step-up.

“I told him to swallow his pride, and let us do it,” Hott said. “When people know it’s for you, they love you here, I know we can get to the goal we need to get to.”

“I don’t ask for things. I never have. I’m not that type of person,” John explained. But he accepted the offer anyway.

After a few months, the Home Depot employees raised the money. John got his chair a couple weeks ago. In fact, there was some extra money, and his co-workers are using it to build a new ramp at John’s home.

“I will never be able to thank people enough for doing this for me,” John said. “There are a lot of people in the background that are never going to have the chance to get thanked for this.”

John didn’t want the attention, but he’s blown away by this generous gift.

“I quit asking ‘why me?’, and just starting saying ‘thank you.’”