Cumberland County boy in wheelchair finally gets trip to Knoxvil

Cumberland County boy in wheelchair finally gets trip to Knoxville Zoo

Posted:
We've been following Holdan Crawley's story since his grandmother reached out to 6 News earlier this month. Holdan wasn't allowed to go on his class trip to the zoo because he's in a wheelchair. We've been following Holdan Crawley's story since his grandmother reached out to 6 News earlier this month. Holdan wasn't allowed to go on his class trip to the zoo because he's in a wheelchair.
Holdan got the VIP tour. It started by meeting Einstein, the zoo's famous parrot. Holdan got the VIP tour. It started by meeting Einstein, the zoo's famous parrot.
Next came the giraffe encounter, where he got to feed Lucille Next came the giraffe encounter, where he got to feed Lucille
By JILL MCNEAL
6 News Anchor/Reporter

KNOXVILLE (WATE) - Thursday was much more than a field trip for one Cumberland County third grader. We've been following Holdan Crawley's story since his grandmother reached out to 6 News earlier this month. Holdan wasn't allowed to go on his class trip to the zoo because he's in a wheelchair.

"We saw the story on WATE and one of our staff members really wanted to turn this around," said Knoxville Zoo spokesperson Tina Rolen.

Previous story: Crossville student in wheelchair not allowed on field trip

She reached out to Holdan's family to offer them a special zoo tour, hoping to make up for the disappointment Holdan felt two weeks ago when his class went to the zoo and left him behind. The day before the class trip, the school said they couldn't find a driver for the wheelchair accessible bus.

"We watched the story and what really spoke to us was the fact that they were counting the days down till he got to come on the trip," Rolen said.

So Thursday, Cumberland county schools provided the transportation and the Knoxville Zoo did the rest. Holdan got the VIP tour. It started by meeting Einstein, the zoo's famous parrot.

Though he can't speak, the smile on Holdan's face made his emotions clear. Next came the giraffe encounter, where he got to feed Lucille. Then a behind the scenes visit with the giant tortoises.

Holdan's grandmother and caretaker, Pam Flowers, called the day an amazing gift.

"The animals had an overwhelming calmness on him that actually surprised me. When we were feeding the giraffe and it came up, he was very still and very calm," Flowers said.

Holdan's family doesn't own a wheelchair accessible van, so since his injury in a car accident two years ago, he's only been to school and the doctor, where transportation is provided.

"You couldn't ask for anything better than what the zoo's done. The zoo has just been amazing," Flowers said.

The Cumberland County superintendent has apologized for the mistake, which he says came from a miscommunication. Flowers says she was impressed the school district took responsibility, investigated the problem, and has new procedures in place to make sure this will not happen again.

Holdan's family has entered an online contest hoping to win a wheelchair accessible van.
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