LEXINGTON COUNTY, SC (WIS) - An anonymous act of kindness has given a happy ending to a man whose only mode of transportation, a golf cart, was stolen.
Jason Herring's $8,000 dark gray 2009 E-Z-GO was not just any machine, it was his ride to work. It was his ride to get groceries. It was his independence.
"I was shocked," said Brian when he found out his cart was gone, "and I was scared."
Jason has Down syndrome.
"This is his car," says Jason's brother, Brian. "He will never drive a regular car."
On Sunday, the golf cart was sitting in his Bradfield Court driveway as it has for many years. Neighbors say they heard the cart start up around 4:30 a.m., but figured the 34-year-old was heading to his part-time job at Lowe's.
Instead, it was a thief. The cart was gone.
Jason's freedom to roam the neighborhood around Whiteford subdivision went from four wheels to just two feet.
"He's been doing this for years," said Brian. "We bought him this golf cart to try to help him have a normal life."
Luckily, that sense of normalcy has returned to Jason. We don't know who did it, but someone donated a new golf cart to him.
"It just took the wind out of me," said Jason.
"It's been a really awesome day and a really happy day for me."
Brian hopes the person or persons responsible for stealing his brother's golf cart will take a moment to realize how they have impacted Jason's life.
"We'd like them to return it." said Brian. "Maybe look at taking a new direction in their lives. We just need to pray that God will change their lives."
Brian says the cart is unmistakable. It has a large Gamecock sticker on the hood and a Gamecock Club sticker on the windshield. "He's a diehard Gamecocks fan," said Brian.
It also has a stereo system, over-size tires and headlights.
Jason is also a bit of a celebrity in the area. He was the 2000 South Carolina Special Olympian of the year. He also lettered in three sports at Brookland-Cayce High School.
Brian says he spends time with others who Down syndrome. "Jason is a special individual because of the lives he's touched," said Brian.
"Five minutes around Jason and you have no choice but to look at your fellow man in a new and more humble way," said Brian.
Authorities still seek the person or persons responsible for stealing the golf cart.
If you know anything about the theft or if you have seen Jason's golf cart, you are urged to call Crimestoppers at 1-888-CRIME-SC.