An kindhearted Uber driver earned her five star rating, and then some, after she helped a new mom select clothes for her sick baby and proceeded to buy them for her.
Nikki Ihus, from Kansas City, Missouri, was told by doctors that her son would be born with rare defects. The medical experts urged her to have the baby at a hospital in St Petersburg, Florida, so that the newborn could be monitored.
The new mother, who welcomed baby John Henry in September, realized two weeks ago that she needed to buy more clothes for him when her mom was out of town. After calling an Uber to take her to a nearby clothing store, she ended up making a friend for life in the process.
Friends for life: New mom Nikki Ihus, left, was moved by Uber driver Belinda Smith, right, and her kind actions when she bought baby clothes for Nikki’s sick son
Newborn: Nikki’s baby John Henry was born with a rare birth defect that requires constant monitoring from hospital doctors
Driver Belinda Smith, from Florida, told Fox News that the new mom was visibly distraught during the ride.
Nikki explained to her through tears that John Henry was born with Congenital Diaphragmatic Hernia (CDH); a birth defect of the diaphragm that results in very small lungs.
Amazed: Nikki, pictured with John Henry, said she was bowled over by the driver’s actions
‘It’s a hole in the diaphragm that allows the organ in the abdomen to move into the chest cavity and causes really small lungs because it limits the space for them to grow,’ Nikki said, adding that she was shocked when she found out only weeks before welcoming the baby.
‘The nurses actually told me not to Google anything when I found out because they knew the survival rates were not very good,’ she added.
‘I thought to myself, “Oh gosh, this is her first child and she is having to go through all this.” It’s so sad,’ Belinda told the outlet.
‘I was having a bad day,’ Nikki agreed.
On the day in question, her son, who was born in September, had a ‘terrifying’ procedure where doctors flipped him on his stomach for the first time.
Little John Henry was also learning how to breathe on his own without the help of a machine.
Since flying to Florida in August in anticipation of the birth, Nikki’s mom had been at her side.
However, her mom was out of town on this particular day and Nikki realized she needed to pick up some essentials for the baby.
As he was being monitored by doctors and nurses, Nikki intended to stop by a nearby consignment store that was having a sale on baby clothes.
Strong: The Missouri-native was told in July that her baby would be born with defects, forcing her to go to Florida to have her son in an environment he could be cared for in
Fighter: John Henry, one month, was born with a hole in his diaphragm and very small lungs which make breathing independently extremely difficult
While in Belinda’s Uber, Nikki said she was overcome with emotion.
‘I was kind of explaining what was going on that day,’ she said.
‘And I let her know my mom was out of town and what had happened to the machine.’
Kind: Belinda joined the visibly distraught mom in the store and helped her pick out baby clothes, which she then bought for her
After Belinda reached the destination, she decided she couldn’t leave Nikki to go about the task by herself.
Nikki was shocked when she saw Belinda join her, insisting that she shouldn’t shop by herself.
‘So we just started picking out baby clothes. It was really fun,’ Nikki said.
Belinda, who has been driving with Uber for three months, proceeded to go to the register and hand the new mom a ‘huge bag of clothes’.
‘She gave me a hug and started to cry,’ Belinda said of Nikki’s reaction.
‘I wanted to cry. Honestly, I was just happy to do something nice for her because she was having a rough day.’
Nikki added: ‘It was amazing, I was like, “Are you serious?” I didn’t expect anything at all. I just needed to tell someone what was going on, and there she is. She just showed up and offered to buy clothing. It was amazing.
Hope: It is expected that the tot will stay in hospital in Florida for another three months to ensure he is thriving
Updates: Nikki said that as of yesterday, John Henry is ‘doing better’ in hospital
‘It definitely brightened my day because I was definitely not in the mood to go shopping, and she made it fun.’
Days later, Belinda visited Nikki in hospital and got to meet John Henry.
What is Congenital Diaphragmatic Hernia (CDH)?
In CDH, the diaphragm does not develop completely, causing a hole where abdominal organs can migrate into the chest
This leaves little space for the lungs to develop normally, making it hard for the baby to breath
About 1,600 babies are born with CDH every year in the U.S.
Even when the CDH is severe, more than 70 per cent of affected babies can be saved with intensive support
Some will have long term health issues related to breathing
Source: Chop.edu, Hopkinsallchildrens.org
‘He’s so beautiful,’ Belinda said of the baby, adding that she is confident he will be running circles around his mother in no time.’
‘He’s going to be her superhero,’ she added.
Nikki writes about John Henry’s progress online on the donations website Caring Bridge.
As of yesterday, the hopeful mom said that ‘John Henry seems to have been doing better’ and that there are no signs of infections in his breathing tube or urine.
It’s expected that he will stay in hospital for at least another three months.
But one thing that’s likely getting Nikki through? A trip to Disney World with her new friend Belinda in the future.
‘This is a lifetime friendship. We’re bonded, we are bound together,’ Belinda noted.
‘I just really feel that a lot of people need to have a little more warmness in their hearts and stop being so caught up in everything and look at people around you because you never know what they are going through.’
Nikki agreed: ‘At least I know there are good people out there.’