Kentucky community rallies to replace stolen water table for 8-year-old with cerebral palsy

Published 5:27 am Thursday, June 10, 2021

Chuck and Abby Robinson came home one day recently to find their son Gideon’s water table was missing from their yard.

“We came home one day and it was gone,” Chuck said. “We don’t know when or what happened.”

Friends encouraged Abby to post the disappearance on Facebook, saying with the size of Frankfort and the unique quality of the water table they might find out what happened to it.

Instead, the Robinsons found a community willing to help.

Members of the Franklin County Fire Department built a new water table for Gideon and delivered it to the family Monday evening.

“It was nowhere on our radar for people to do this,” Abby said.

“And it was never an ask,” Chuck added.

Chuck built the first water table last year for Gideon’s birthday.

“Gideon is 8, and most water tables are made for toddlers, so Chuck custom built one,” Abby said. “He made it of wood so it’s sturdy. The ones for toddlers are plastic, and Gideon is so strong he could knock it over.”

With the price of lumber skyrocketing in the past year and the time it takes to build a water table, the Robinsons didn’t have immediate plans to replace it.

“With the world opening up, we’ve been able to go to some splash pads and had things to do,” Abby said. “We thought we’d roll with it and see what happened.”

Gideon, who has cerebral palsy, wasn’t without a water table for long.

The firefighters were able to build the new water table in 24 hours.

“They didn’t want anything from us at all,” Abby said. “We were blessed, and then they were blessed when they went to Lowe’s.” Lowe’s donated all the supplies for the project.

“They didn’t let the firefighters spend one cent on supplies,” Abby said.

Once the table was completed, the firefighters thought it needed more toys, and Walmart donated a $75 gift card for toys.

“Gideon went from waking up and saying he was sad, to the first thing he does is open the curtains to see the water table,” Abby said. “It’s like his mind is blown.”

The Robinsons said water tables for children Gideon’s age and size don’t exist, but the ones that have been built for him have the correct height and are made of sturdier materials than the tables for toddlers, so he can’t fall into them or break them.

The new water table was delivered on a fire truck with sirens wailing.

“When all the firefighters showed up, I think it overwhelmed him a little bit,” Chuck said. “It was sensory overload. He was smiling, but he kept looking to us.”

“He’s non-verbal, but you could see his smile radiating,” Abby said.

The firefighters left something at the Robinsons’ house, and one firefighter returned later to pick it up.
“Gideon was all over that firefighter, hugging him and giving high fives,” Chuck said. “He’d had time to process what had happened.”

And the Robinsons have had time to reflect upon the gift.

“It’s a blessing,” Abby said. “The community has rallied behind Gideon several times. We’re so grateful to live in a community that’s shown so much love and support. People show up for every big thing and every little thing.”

“We didn’t ask for anything,” Chuck said. “This is such a blessing. It shows how we’re successful together.”