NEW ROADS, LA (WAFB) - No one knows the name James Joseph, but if you ask anyone in Pointe Coupee Parish if they know "Big Brown," they light up with a huge smile!
Big Brown is a UPS driver in New Roads. On his route, he meets lots of people. In December 2015, he met a deaf teenage girl on his route. She was running after other kids who were on their bicycles in the neighborhood. Big Brown asked the young girl's mother why her daughter didn't have a bike of her own.
"My daughter Anijah is deaf," Alacia Toussaint explained. "She has a balance problem. So to get her a bike we'd need training wheels, and they don't make training wheels for a big bike the size Anijah would need."
That got Big Brown thinking. His relationship with Jerry Roy at A.J. Roy & Son's Welding in New Roads was almost like family. They had helped each other with different projects over the past 12 years. So Big Brown called Mr. Jerry to see if he had any ideas.
Without hesitation, A.J. Roy & Sons got creative and fabricated training wheels to fit Anijah's bike. They did this at no charge to anyone. Big Brown delivered the bike on Christmas Eve 2015.
"And believe me, when she got on that bike, she just took off!" said Big Brown with a huge grin that was an indication of success. "I had to stop her cause she was so excited. It was amazing. I mean, her mom started crying; her grandmother started crying because she finally gets to ride a bike."
Well, two weeks ago, again on his route, Big Brown is introduced to a mother with a 2-year-old handicapped child. See, young Francisco Cruise was actually born in the car while on the way to the hospital. Francisco was without oxygen for almost 20 minutes and suffered irreversible brain damage. As a result, he was bedridden because of a permanent breathing machine and feeding tube. His mom wished she could take him outside once in a while to see other kids and enjoy the sunshine.
Big Brown again reached out to A.J. Roy & Sons. They welcomed the challenge and fabricated a special wheel chair that could accommodate little Francisco's breathing apparatus, battery, and feeding equipment.
For always be willing to help, Big Brown nominated Mr. Jerry with A.J. Roy & Sons for WAFB's Hand It On. We met Big Brown in New Roads.
"When I came to you guys for Christmas Eve for the girl with the bicycle," Big Roy began, directing his attention to Jerry Roy and sons. "You guys got on top of that and made it happen. This young man that needed a wheel chair. I called you guys again. You said what can I do and how can I make it happen.
"So I called Channel 9 and asked that I hand on this money to you, Mr. Jerry, and your family for always being there for me. I want to give you guys this $300 to do what you guys want to do with it."
What Mr. Jerry did next did not surprise anyone who knows him.
"Well, I sure thank you," Mr. Jerry told Big Brown. "Now, can I give this back to your cause? I'd be tickled to death if you'd take it and give it to somebody that needs it."
WOW! A double Hand It On in the same day? Not exactly. How about a triple!
See, what Mr. Jerry didn't know at the time was, when Big Brown left A.J. Roy & Sons that afternoon, he split up the money and gave some to little Francisco Cruise's mother and then gave some to the 16-year-old teenager with a new bike, Anijah Toussaint.
I'm quite certain James Joseph didn't get the nickname Big Brown from his tall 6-foot-8 frame. No, I know he got it from having such a big heart!
To nominate someone for Hand It On, send an e-mail to HandItOn@WAFB.com.