Walmart buys paralyzed woman a new wheelchair after custom chair stolen while shopping

PLANO, Ill. (WLS) -- A woman's lifeline was stolen during a trip to the store when someone took the wheelchair she needs to get around.

However, instead of it sidelining the woman, a helpful hand is helping get her moving again.

The hope is that the person who took it also takes a good look in the mirror, knowing they stole not just a wheelchair, but her way of life.

On a routine trip to a Plano Walmart Wednesday afternoon, 72-year-old Pam Anderson left her customized wheelchair in the store vestibule.

"I never had any doubt that it wouldn't be there when I came back," Anderson said.

The Somonauk resident said the wheelchair is one of kind.

It was designed in 1989 and specifically built for the paralyzed survivor of a hit-and-run crash with multiple sclerosis.

"I can't go anywhere other than inside my house without that customized chair," Anderson said. "It's my life, literally, it's my life."

Investigators told Anderson as she was shopping, two customers mistakenly used her wheelchair to shop, but didn't return it where they got it.

"Unfortunately, they left the Walmart with my chair and left it outside in the parking lot by one of the cart return places," Anderson said.

That's when investigators told her that surveillance cameras were rolling when another customer spotted her wheelchair outside.

"[They] looked it up, looked it over, picked it up and put it into his own vehicle and drove away," Anderson said.

The paralyzed woman said she was left paralyzed, emotionally.

"I try real hard not to cry thinking that I'll never see it again," she said.

When Walmart found out, the company bought Anderson a brand new wheelchair.

"I love my Walmart store. I truly do," Anderson said. "From the bottom of my heart, thank you."

Her gratitude for Walmart's generosity is just as strong as her faith and hope that whoever took it does the right thing.

"I just pray, for your sake, that something like what's happened to me in my life never happens to you," Anderson said.

Anderson also made a plea to the public, asking anyone who may have any information to please contact the police.
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