Nikki Ihus lives in Kansas but she’s currently staying at Johns Hopkins All Children’s Hospital in St. Petersburg, Florida. Her baby boy, John Henry, was born with a congenital diaphragmatic hernia (CDH), which requires major surgery for survival.
The CDH team at Johns Hopkins is among the best in the country, which is why Ihus is a long way from home, and will not return for at least a few months.
One day last week, Nikki was “having a bad day” and decided she wanted to get out and buy her son some new clothes at a nearby consignment shop.
So, she called an Uber.
Belinda Smith answered the call, picking Nikki up at the hospital.
While in the backseat, Nikki began to tell Belinda her story.
“I was kind of explaining what was going on that day,” she said, adding that she was crying a lot.
“She needed to talk and I was there to listen,” says Belinda, a mother herself. “People don’t listen anymore. I believe people get in my car for a reason other than a ride.”
When they arrived at the store, Nikki said goodbye and walked inside to shop.
But Belinda didn’t drive away.
“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 recalled.
“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’.”
Belinda went on to buy about 30 pieces of baby clothes for her new friend.
The store’s employees were amazed.
“They asked me how long I’ve known her. I said, ‘Oh, about 15 minutes’.”
Before parting ways, Belinda and Nikki exchanged contact information.
“This is a lifetime friendship. We’re bonded, we are bound together,” Belinda said.
The newfound friends are already planning a trip to Disney World after John Henry recovers.
Image Credit: Belinda Smith with Nikki Ihus