A Massachusetts limo driver has set out to make a little girl’s hospital visits a bit more tolerable.
According to PEOPLE, 8-year-old Mary Alice Tryda has been dealing with sickness her whole life, but doctors weren’t able to diagnose her until recently. Mary Alice’s mom, Kelly Tryda, said issues with her daughter began during her pregnancy.
“We had a lot of problems with the pregnancy,” Kelly, 41, tells PEOPLE. “She was born with broken hips, and she spent time in a spica cast for about eight months as a baby. As she grew, she remained really small in stature and developed a fully dislocated knee.”
After years of trying to figure out a cause for her medical issues, doctors diagnosed Mary Alice with a rare disease called Ehlers-Danlos syndrome. Ehlers-Danlos syndrome is an illness that affects the connective tissues of the bones, blood vessels, skin, and other organs of the body. This illness has forced Mary Alice to give up playing all of her favorite sports and games because if she were to fall, she could be seriously injured.
Mary Alice and her family moved to Massachusetts from Ohio last year to work with a specialist at the Boston Children’s Hospital. The hospital is about 30 miles away from their new home. Since they didn’t really know what to expect, Kelly took to Facebook to ask neighbors and friends how to make the drive more tolerable for the little girl. She thought she would only receive traffic and direction tips, but she ended up getting something a lot more special.
Steven Hipolito, owner of Silver City Limousine, reached out to the family and offered to drive them to the hospital for free. The idea of spending almost an hour in a car with this random stranger made Kelly a little skeptical. But after doing some research, she decided to take Hipolito up on his offer.
Before Mary Alice’s first visit to the hospital, Hipolito showed up at their home with a blacked-out vehicle and a huge smile. Not only did she get to enjoy the ride, but there was also sparkling grape juice waiting for her inside the car.
When Hipolito was a child, his mother would drive him back and forth to the hospital. He told PEOPLE that he felt some sort of connection to Kelly and her family because of his car rides.
In the United States, stretch limousines are the second most requested vehicle type for business clients seeking professional transportation. But for the Tryda family, the vehicle type meant nothing compared to Hipolito’s kind gesture. Since her first appointment, Hipolito has set up rides with Mary Alice and her family to get them to the monthly appointments. When he can’t drive, he has other drivers take the lead.
“He made the commitment to her and he’s very specific about that,” Kelly said. “He said, ‘This is my promise to her, and I will honor this with her.’ ”