A chance encounter between a sick child and an Acadian Ambulance medic creates an unexpected ripple effect in a south Louisiana community. KPLC 7News shares the story of "Captain Crayola."
When you see Gavin Beard, it is his spirit and sweet voice that overshadow the medical problems that have plagued him since birth - from heart and limb defects to scoliosis.
It is the pint-sized punch of this little boy that inspired Acadian Ambulance medic Justin Tabor and partner, Daislynn Kimball, to do something they had never done before.
"I met Gavin on August 1st, 2012 on a recent transport from Thibodaux Regional Hospital to Children's Hospital in New Orleans," Tabor said.
The hospital staff had given Gavin coloring sheets for the ambulance ride from one hospital to another, but they forgot the crayons. Gavin told the medics he was "Captain Crayola" and needed some colors, so Tabor and Kimball made a stop that turned into a life-changing event for everyone involved.
"For a box of crayons to mean that much to a kid," said Gavin's mother, Misty Rodgers, "it was so much more than just a box of crayons."
Tabor stayed in touch with Gavin's family and even contacted the Crayola Company to get Gavin a care package for Christmas. But it did not stop there once the Blake McKay Foundation in Alexandria heard Gavin's story.
Brett Arceneaux with the foundation said, "I was just impressed with Justin's commitment to what he's got going on and obviously with Gavin and his situation. Bringing a smile to his face is really what we wanted to do."
That group granted Gavin's wish to go to Disneyworld. Again, Tabor did not stop there, knowing that Gavin's family had needs at home.
"Through our Facebook page we were able to buy not only the bed, but the linen, accessories for the room, along with appliances that the family needed," said Tabor.
Tabor said it is about more than the crayons, Disneyworld, and new toys. It is about an unexpected friendship on an unexpected ambulance ride.
"Gavin looks up to me and I love the little guy," Tabor said.
Gavin's family said he is a true miracle child, outliving all life expectancies from doctors.
Video and information for this story was provided by Acadian Ambulance.