It’s been two months since Chris Barrington was found wandering down Highway 84 in Waco, Texas, alone and with no one to care for him.
The 30-year-old has the mental functionality of a six-year-old, and he was forced to strike out on his own after his father was diagnosed with leukemia, CBS News reports.
But Barrington isn’t alone anymore thanks to Michelle Girard, his former grade-school teacher who took him in after police picked him up in June. Girard is now Barrington’s legal guardian, and she welcomed him into her family by throwing him his very first birthday party when he turned 30 earlier this week.
“He deserves a good life,” Girard, told KSLA News 12. “He’s had a hard life.”
Barrington’s happy ending comes two months after he was picked up by the Gatesville Sheriff’s Department on the side of the road in Waco.
With no extended family to contact, there was only one name he could recall: Mrs. Girard.
Girard was Barrington’s teacher for four years, but she hadn’t seen him in over a decade.
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Still, she didn’t hesitate to take him in when she got the call from police.
“I said, ‘what happens if I don’t take him? Will he get in a group home?’ They said, ‘no, he’d go in to an institution,'” Girard said. “I said, ‘Not on my watch he’s not.'”
Now, Barrington’s former teacher is looking forward to providing him with a year of incredible firsts, from family holidays to birthday celebrations.
“He’s never had a birthday present, a birthday party, he’s never had Christmas, Thanksgiving, nothing,” she said. “So this year is going to be full of firsts.”
Local business owner Jimmy Bennett also treated Barrington to another first by taking him on a fishing trip.
“You know there are so many things that kids want to do,” Bennett said.
“They want to go to Disney. I have one that wants to go to Hawaii on a shark fishing trip,” he said. “Chris is happy to come out on Lake Waco and ride around on a boat. That’s all he wants to do.”