A Florida Uber driver bought a NICU mom new clothes!
On September 17, Nikki and Joe Ihus brought their perfect little boy John Henry into this world. The couple had to deliver their son at Johns Hopkins All Children’s Hospital when they learned that their son had a very unique disability called congenital diaphragmatic hernia. It’s a condition in which the muscle that separates the chest from the abdomen doesn’t close during prenatal development. As a result, the stomach, intestines, or liver can migrate into the chest. The couple had traveled from their home in Kansas City, Missouri to have their son in Florida where there were doctors that could help with their sons condition.
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"The amazing doctors got him on ECMO within 25 minutes [after birth]," Nikki tells Yahoo Lifestyle. ECMO, extracorporeal membrane oxygenation, also known as extracorporeal life support, is a pump that circulates blood through an artificial lung back into the bloodstream, providing both heart and lung bypass support outside of a baby's body. The little boy was at the best hospital for his disability but he was given a very low chance of survival. In October, Joe had to leave his wife and son and return to his home in Missouri because he needed to go back to work.
Nikki was in an unfamiliar city and she didn't have very many supplies or clothes. She decided to contact an Uber and she would go to a nearby consignment store to shop for some things. Belinda Smith pulled up as the Uber driver. "I actually wasn't planning on talking, but at that point, I hadn't told really anyone what had just happened," Nikki says. "Something like that isn't easy to keep bottled up. I started talking about my son and just spilled about his condition, why we were in Florida, what happened when, where I was going. I was crying by the end."
Smith said that when she pulled up to the children's hospital she was hoping that it wasn't a sick kid but then when she heard Nikki's story her heart just broke. “I believe everyone gets in my car for a reason and not just a ride,” says Smith. “I dropped her off, first, and she thought it was the end of the ride. I went, pulled into a parking space, turned Uber off, and I said, ‘I’m just going to go in and find her.’”Smith purchased 30 new outfits, including a onesie that stated "I am a superhero," for John Henry.
"It is hard, nowadays, to make money and stay afloat," she says. "Belinda had mentioned that Uber is her second job...to stop working, to help a complete stranger out, is so incredibly selfless. She really touched my heart and I will cherish the clothes that she purchased and helped me pick out." Smith went and visited Nikki in the hospital a few days later. Nikki said she was so excited to b e able to introduce her to John Henry. “We talk every day,” Smith says.