A Lesson in Forgiveness

Next week, a 22-year-old Omaha woman goes before a judge. She's accused of driving drunk when she hit a child with her car.

It’s been more than six weeks since a car hit Thomas Hadley in his midtown neighborhood and broke his leg. Soon after, we talked with the 10-year-old. He was thrilled to finally ditch the walker.

Aside from the doctor's office, Dundee Elementary has done the most to help him heal.

His mom, Teresa Hadley, said, “His big thing was going back to school. The first day, hours after the accident, his big thing was he turned to his dad and I and said, 'I can't go to school now.' And that was hours after the accident."

With that, it's easy to see why hitting the books and focusing on third grade play into his recovery. Still, before his return he worried how his injury would appear to his classmates.

“I thought I would be alone. That I would have no one to play with," he said.

Instead, everyone wanted to help. So much so that he had to hand out his own assignments.

“Some kids get me my folder, and ride on elevator," he explained.

Conner Shaver, a fellow third-grader, is one of them.

“I get his folder and help him out," Conner said of his best friend.

Thomas is excited to be back in school but he has limitations, especially when it comes to a game he loves: basketball. He's likely still a year-and-a-half away from participating fully.

Flexi-nails hold together his right femur now and the broken bone is re-growing.

“I need to start doing exercises, pick up my leg and I can start putting pressure on my foot," he said.

A suspected drunk driver struck Thomas near 46th and California. His mother remains angry about it but the 10-year-old told her, “we're supposed to forgive.”

"It's amazing what a child teaches you as a parent,” Teresa told us. “I don't go by the scene. I go around the block. I don't want to drive past it. Thomas will cover his eyes. That's what made me aware of it."

For Thomas Hadley, the limp will eventually go away and this will become a simple footnote as he works towards fourth grade.

His mom says, “He comes home and he's the Thomas we remember. I mean it's a huge thing. He's never alone. He points out that that kid ‘help me ride the elevator, so I'm not alone.’ He's a normal kid. Again."


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