An Ottawa-area teen with a rare genetic disorder lived out his dream of becoming a Walmart greeter Tuesday with the help of his local store.
Proudly wearing his own Walmart vest and name tag, 14-year-old Tait Gofton welcomed visitors to the Ottawa-area store, as his mother and support network cheered him on.
“He loves people. Loves, loves, loves people—loves meeting new people. I think he came into Walmart one day and thought it was just the best job anyone could ever have,” Emma Gofton, Tait’s mother told CTV Ottawa.
“It’s really a dream come true for him. And at this point in time, these days are precious and we want to make every single one count.”
Tait suffers from a genetic disorder so rare it doesn’t have a name. According to his mother, the degenerative neurological condition has robbed him of the ability to move, speak and eat. He now has difficulty breathing.
“The fact that he’s actually sitting up in a wheel chair and driving himself just shows you how much desire and motivation he has to be here today,” said the teen’s mother.
Tait and his sister, who also suffers from a genetic disorder, are both under respite care at Ottawa’s Roger Neilson House. With the help of Walmart Canada, volunteers at the pediatric palliative care center organized the experience for Tait in an effort to help fulfil one of his dreams.
“We try to make sure that our kids live their best life. No matter how short their life is, we really want to make sure we enrich that life with whatever their dreams, wishes, and hopes are,” said Megan Wright, executive director of Roger Neilson House.
The eight-bed care center, which is partnered with the Children’s Hospital of Eastern Ontario (CHEO), opened its doors in 2006. The facility is located on the grounds at CHEO and provides a home-like environment for patients and their families.
“I can’t imagine going through this process without the amazing staff and volunteers that exist in that home. I really can’t put into words how much they mean to us,” said Gofton.