17-year-old Jake Stitt is a fixture in his hometown of Morristown, TN. The teen, who lives with cerebral palsy, spreads joy in his community by sitting outside in his wheelchair with a sign saying “Honk if you’re happy.”
Jake’s father, Tim Stitt, is a military veteran and his son’s sole caregiver. Stitt started to lose function in his hands after years of lifting his son in and out of their van. To help assist the Stitt family, Morristown native and actor Michael Abbott Jr. started a fundraiser to get the family a new wheelchair-accessible van.
“Jake Stitt is 17 years old. He loves sports, the outdoors & maintains a busy social life. His father is desperate for a handicapped accessible van in order for Jake to keep living at home. Shed some love & light. PLEASE SHARE,” Abbott Jr. wrote.
While the fundraiser initially fell short of its goal, another Tennessee native caught wind of Jake’s story and pitched in to help.
Justin Timberlake bought the Stitt family the $35,000 wheelchair-accessible van they needed.
“He caught the story and was just very touched with what was going on with this thing and he wanted to reach out and decided that he wanted to purchase the van for Jacob and his needs,” Tim Stitt told local news station WJHL. “It was just a very blessing to be able to speak to that gentleman and for him to be able to meet Jake and see what he needed.”
Justin Timberlake then got on Zoom to have a video call with Jake and his dad. “I heard there was a goal to try to get this van before Thanksgiving. I heard your story and saw a little news clip about it,” he said.
"I was so moved that I want you guys to have this van. I'm going to cover all the costs. I want you guys to have a great holiday.”
“You inspire me, Jake,” Timberlake added.
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