Parenthood
Uber driver picked up new mom from NICU returns to gift her with 30 new baby outfits
After the driver learned about her passenger's sick baby, she knew she wanted to do something to help.
Eduardo Gaskell
12.06.21

Uber driver Belinda Smith is so used to people sitting in the back of her car that most trips feel exactly the same way. But it was a new mom that changed her life after the journey.

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Nikki Ihus is from Kansas City. She’s been staying at Johns Hopkins All Children’s Hospital in Florida where her son, John Henry, is being treated for congenital diaphragmatic hernia (CDH).

This life-threatening condition causes a newborn to have a hole in the diaphragm. Only 1 in every 4,000 babies are born with it.

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The aforementioned hole can cause organs from the abdomen to go through the open space in the chest cavity.

Nikki brought her son to the St. Petersburg hospital because the doctors have brought their CDH survival rate to more than 90 percent thanks to their skills. The hospital’s CDH team is among the best in the country.

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Nikki and John are from Kansas, but had to stay in Florida John could be treated. Being so far from home meant Nikki had to buy new clothes for herself and John. That’s when she took an Uber to Rhea Lana’s, a children’s clothing store.

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That’s when Belinda met Nikki.

“She needed to talk and I was there to listen,” Belinda said. “People don’t listen anymore. I believe people get in my car for a reason other than a ride.”

Nikki was lonely and stressed. Being in a different city with no family or friends wasn’t helping.

“I hopped in the car and I think she could tell I wasn’t having the best day,” Nikki said.

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Belinda knew she needed to do something when she heard Nikki’s story.

“She told me her story. She was in tears a couple of times and I really felt for her,” Belinda said.

Arriving at Rhea Lana’s, Belinda and Nikki ended their chat but the Uber driver felt like doing something more for the Kansas mom.

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Belinda couldn’t get Nikki and John out of her head as she got ready to leave. That’s when she decided to help.

“She touched my heart,” Belinda shared. “So I parked the car and turned Uber off. I went in and I found her and said, ‘This is a day that should be fun for you. And you shouldn’t be alone. Let’s shop.’”

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She went in to join Nikki, and the two women went shopping for clothes together. As Nikki prepared to pay for her items, Belinda decided to surprise her by paying for all the items that Nikki put in her cart.

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Nikki couldn’t help it, crying in gratitude for what Belinda just did.

“For this stranger to go completely out of her way – stop what she was doing and stop making money – to come be with me for a couple of hours while we shopped together, that was just incredible,” she said.

The two have become friends. Belinda even came to visit John in the hospital the week after she and Nikki went shopping.

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It’s stories like these that restore our faith in humanity! Watch the timely encounter below!

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By Eduardo Gaskell
hi@sbly.com
Eduardo Gaskell is a contributor at SBLY Media.
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