GLOUCESTER, Va. (WAVY) — Last week we reported on Gloucester County resident Melinda Dunlap, who called 10 On Your Side looking for an important task to be completed.
The task at hand, find a worthy person to take possession of a trike fitted for someone who has no use of his legs. Melinda Dunlap called us with this task at hand.
What followed is a gift, the gift of giving, the gift of love, the gift of helping a stranger. And what more can be said about that?
We met 20-year-old Erik Medhus on his front step in Gloucester County.
He was in his wheelchair, but bright and positive, and laughing and happy to see us. He then told us how he got into a wheelchair.
On November 30, 2016, he was driving his car.
“I was going down the road and I was speeding,” Medhus said.
He wasn’t wearing a seat belt.
“I went off the road, and I hit a telephone pole… I rolled about eight times and got ejected out the sunroof of my car,” he said. “I looked straight to the sky and said ‘thank you, Lord, I am still here… I stay positive the most that I can. I have great friends and I have their comfort.”
Medhus calls himself a great believer in Jesus Christ, “He saved me for a reason. A reason for me to be alive today.”
Today a strange gray car pulled up in front of Medhus’ house. It was Melinda Dunlap, and she came bearing gifts. Erik knew who it was, and he was happy to see her.
He hugged her, “It’s so very nice to meet you.”
Dunlap responded, “I get a hug?” Erik responded, “Yes you do.”
There would be lots of hugging on Thursday.
Melinda Dunlap’s friend Marlon Beahm, a paraplegic who had the trike, died before he could enjoy it.
Beahm’s family gave it to Dunlap, who is now paying the gift forward to someone who needs it more than she does, to Erik Medhus.
She would then teach Erik how to operate it.
“This is how it turns,” Dunlap said.
Erik quickly found the pepper spray Beahm had on the bike in case he got chased by nasty dogs, “I thought it was a horn, but I’m glad, I am so glad, I did not press that,” Erik said to great laughter.
In the distance you could tell a bonding friendship forged through love, a kindness, once strangers, no longer.
Erik’s great aunt Fran James submitted Erik’s name to Dunlap for the trike.
“I was asked to go online to WAVY and send in a request,” James said.
We got several requests. James read from what she submitted, “The doctors have said, there’s little hope of him walking again even though they have told him this we feel like he is going to walk again.”
Dunlap was so torn by the entrees she asked a friend to choose between two. The friend chose Erik.
“She chose him because of his age, and he would get the most use out of it, and now that I am here, and see how much he is enjoying the bike it is awesome. It’s awesome,” Dunlap said.
She said that in front of Erik, who leaned over and kissed her on the cheek.
Erik is very appreciative, and he is very funny.
“I could not believe you chose me. I barely get picked for anything. Even in Duck-Duck-Goose. I never got the goose,” he said.
Melinda quickly picked up on that, “See, and today you got the golden egg.”
Erik responded, “Yes I did…I’m so grateful for Marlon, and what he made for me, and for her for making the decision for me, and I can’t wait to use it every day…I try my hardest. I’m that type of person to excel in what I do, and I love this trike.”
As we left them, they were sitting together in the middle of the court.
“It makes me want to cry…when I found out they picked me, I was so happy, I can’t believe how wonderful it is and I thank you, Merry Christmas,” Erik said of the entire event,
Melinda, hugging Erik, said, “And Merry Christmas to you.”
Melinda wanted us to thank all of you who submitted emails and messages to Facebook for the trike. They were all worthy, and as you read Melinda had such a tough time she had to get a friend to make the final choice. Thanks to all, and thanks to Melinda Dunlap for making a difference in Erik’s life.