WACO, TX (KWTX) -- It was a day full of firsts at Lake Waco, as Chris Barrington, a 30-year-old man with special needs, had his first ever birthday party.

"He deserves a good life," said caretaker Michell Girard. "He's had a hard life."

A little over two months ago, Chris, who functions at a 6-year-old level, was found walking down Highway 84 alone by the Gatesville Sheriff's Department.

He had been wandering around Gatesville for two days. Chris' father was so sick with late stage leukemia that he couldn't move.

Chris had no known immediate family, but he did remember the name of his junior high teacher, Michell Girard.

Girard taught Chris for four years at Gatesville Junior High, but hadn't interacted with Chris in years.

However, she was more than willing to take him in.

"I said 'what happens if I don't take him? Would he get in a group home?'" Girard said. "They said, 'No he'd go in to an institution.' I was like 'Not on my watch he's not.'"

Girard is now applying for guardianship of Chris after his father passed away on Aug. 1.

While they wait for that process to be completed, Girard is making sure Chris has every opportunity to do the things he hadn't been able to do.

"He's never had a birthday present, a birthday party, he's never had Christmas, Thanksgiving, nothing," Girard said. "So this year is going to be full of firsts."

So, with the help of JMB Fishing out of Waco, Chris was not only able to have his first birthday party and go on his first boat ride and fishing trip.

"You know, there are so many things that kids want to do," said fisherman Jimmy Bennett. "They want to go to Disney. I have one that wants to go to Hawaii to go on a shark fishing trip. Chris is happy to come out on Lake Waco and ride around on a boat. That's all he wants to do."

And they were more than happy to oblige to give him a new family and an experience they won't soon forget.


Copyright 2019 KPHO/KTVK (KPHO Broadcasting Corporation). All rights reserved.


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