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Texas Teacher Adopts Her Former Student With Special Needs

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Imagine never having a birthday party or celebrating a single holiday. For Chris Barrington, a 30-year-old man with special needs, many childhood firsts didn’t happen. After Chris was found wandering alone in Waco, Texas, an unlikely hero would step into his life. A former teacher from Chris’s past, Michell Girard, decided to play the angel and legal guardian hopeful. Teachers are not only available to students for academia but often provide invaluable emotional support and inspire. Chris and Michell’s moving story prove the power of compassion and community to transform lives.

One To Remember

Chris Barrington’s world was him and his dad. When Chris’s father became ill, he was unable to move and care for his son. Eventually, late-stage leukemia would cause Chris’s dad to pass away on August 1st. Chris Barrington found himself alone, and without any family or friends by his side.

The Gatesville Sherrif’s Department picked up Chris in June, after wandering down Highway 84 for two days. The special needs man was in trouble; he had the mental functionality of a six-year-old child and was at risk of living in an institution. Chris was saved from an increasingly challenging life and uncertain future, thanks to the kindness of one woman. Gatesville police questioned Chris about anyone who could help, and the 30-year-old mentioned his junior high teacher, Michell Girard.

‘I Love You’ Teacher

Michell Girard was surprised to see her former student after more than a decade. Mrs. Girard had made a strong impression on Chris’s life, and the feeling was mutual. Once the special education teacher heard Chris’s story, she had to act. She readily opened up her heart and home to Chris Barrington, making him a part of her family. As more of Chris’s life story was revealed, Michell had this to say. “He’s never had a birthday present, a birthday party, Christmas, Thanksgiving, nothing.”

For three long decades, Chris had a challenging life and was deprived of so much. Michell Girard made some posts on her Facebook page and was prepared to give her former student the gift of a lifetime. Chris was not only going to enjoy his first birthday party ever, but he was going to take his first boat ride on Lake Waco. Business owner, Jimmy Bennet of JMB Fishing, answered Girard’s Facebook request. In addition to enjoying a fishing trip, JMB Fishing provided a Spider-Man themed birthday cake for Chris’s surprise party. Smiles, and “I love you,” often came from the awestruck and happy 30-year-old.

New Life New Experiences

Online social media, Chris’s story received a viral response. On ABC World News Tonight’s Facebook page, Chris and Michell’s story had 11k likes, 3.7k shares, and 493 comments. Chris Barrington was skittish about experiencing new things, but Mrs. Girard and others were ready to change that. After becoming Chris’s legal guardian, the special needs man could look forward to a life filled with “many firsts.” According to Mrs. Girard, “He deserves a good life. He’s had a hard life.” And the Internet couldn’t agree more.

Online YouTube, one video sharing Mr. Barrington’s story received over 1,646 views and 135 likes. User Han Mendi put it best, “Teachers are angels!!” Another YouTube viewer, Alisa Johns, chimed in, “Why is water coming out of my eyes? We need more news like this.” Chris Barrington is sincerely appreciative of everything, funny, and people easily fall in love with his energy. As a youth, Mrs. Girard taught Chris for four years in junior middle school. The power of teachers to teach, help, and heal is real. The incredible selflessness of dedicated educators like Michell Girard does not go unnoticed.

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