SWANSEA, Mass. (WPRI) — Pamela Wildnauer's 16-year-old son Austin hasn't been able to go trick-or-treating in years. But this year, a group of Swansea paramedics made sure Austin wouldn't miss out on another Halloween.
Swansea EMT Christopher Hindle loaded up his ambulance with three other paramedics on Wednesday night. The group picked Austin up, dressed him up as an honorary EMT and took him door to door to trick-or-treat.
"They provided him with a hat, jacket, patches, radio and an EMT bag to collect all his candy," Wildnauer told Eyewitness News. "It was truly a special night."
Wildnauer said she loved seeing the reactions of trick-or-treaters and residents as Austin went door-to-door with the EMT crew, saying many people were "moved to tears" at the sight.
"Initially [residents] wanted to know why the ambulance was in front of their house," Hindle recalled. "But once we explained, everybody was really behind it."
Swansea resident Louise Holt watched as the paramedics lifted Austin out of the ambulance and brought him to her door by gurney to trick-or-treat.
"It was heartwarming," she said. "I thought it was very sweet."
Swansea Ambulance Corps Executive Director Brendan Martin said he was happy to volunteer his team to help Austin enjoy the holiday.
"Just going above and beyond," Martin said of the experience. "Just to give back to the community and help somebody out."
Hindle said they took Austin to dozens of homes over the course of three hours. By the end of the night, Hindle said Austin's candy bag weighed more than Austin himself.
"It wasn't about us at all, it was about him," Hindle said. "It was just great to see the smiles on his family and his smile."
"This to the EMTs was no big deal," Wildnauer added. "But obviously to us, and to Austin, and to everyone we visited, it was a huge deal. It filled hearts."
Wildnauer said Austin unfortunately can't eat any of the candy he received, but she said they plan to donate it to those who can't go trick-or-treating.
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