Stranded man with disability gets needed help through LeeTran

Reporter: Nicole Gabe Writer: Jack Lowenstein
Published: Updated:
Credit: WINK News.

A man is left without options after a local nonprofit had to shut down. When he spoke to a public transportation service, representatives told him they couldn’t help. So we helped him get results.

Benny Green in Lee County lives with a disability. He uses a scooter for mobility, but that doesn’t help him get to his appointments.

“It gets harder every day to survive,” Green told WINK News.

Green relied on nonprofit Good Wheels to go to his medical appointments. But, after recently suspending its operations, Green doesn’t have reliable transportation to get to his doctor visits.

“You can’t go without going to the doctor; you have to go,” Green said. “I mean, there is no way around it.”

After Green made his latest doctor appointment, he made a reservation with Good Wheels to get him there, but the service ran out of money and suspended its operations permanently. And Green said no one told him.

“I was shocked at first, and then I was angry,” Green said.

Green lives in Lehigh Acres, and three miles to the bus stop is too much of a hardship.

“There’s nothing I can do, nothing I can do,” Green said. “I just got to sit here and take it.”

Green reached out to LeeTran to see if they had options for him, but he was told the service couldn’t help him.

“I did not qualify where I live for them to come pick me up,” Green said. “And that I had to get to the nearest bus stop, which is about three miles away.”

So Green reached out to WINK News for help. We took his case to Robert Codie, the transit director of LeeTran.

“The key is to find out what his needs are,” Codie told WINK News. “Because, if we don’t know his needs, then we cannot provide professional services that he may need.”

Within an hour, LeeTran got the information it needed, and Green is good to go from now on.

LeeTan says it is buying more vans and hiring more drivers and hopes to not only provide rides to the doctor but also trips to the grocery store and other day trips.

Between now and June 30, the county says it will determine what its long-term plan is for providing services to former Good Wheels clients. That plan could include hiring a private contractor.

Green says he’s thankful they noticed his case but worries about the other people just like him.

“Some of these people don’t have any options at all to get to the doctor, and it’s a shame,” Green said.

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