Jessie Mae Patterson sits in a Caroline’s Cart at Walmart in Aberdeen. Patterson calls the cart a “godsend.”

Ninety-seven-year-old Jessie Mae Patterson enjoys weekly Walmart shopping trips with her daughter, Vivian Martin, but until recently, such trips were a challenge.

Patterson is in good health, but she cannot walk long distances. She cannot operate the motorized carts and the ones with wheelchairs are difficult for her daughter to manage. Today she is happy to be shopping, because she is riding in a “Caroline’s Cart” that Martin can push easily. The unique cart is designed especially for non-ambulatory adults and older special needs children.

The cart was created by Drew Ann Long, of Birmingham, Ala., whose special needs daughter, Caroline, reached an age and weight that made it impossible for Long to lift her into the children’s seat of a regular cart to go shopping. The “kiddie” carts were not an option because of the child’s condition. Long drew up a concept, proceeded to have it patented and named it “Caroline’s Cart.”

Long’s creation is making a difference in the lives of millions of families throughout the world, including the family of local resident Sandra Fischer.

“I have a special interest in the cart, because my daughter helped promote its use in grocery chains and Walmart in Indiana,” says Fischer. “Our granddaughter has special needs and was getting too large for her to lift and put in a regular cart.”

Fischer says that her daughter had even drawn a concept for a special cart before discovering online that Long had created Caroline’s Cart, which was already patented and manufactured.

“When we moved here, I noticed the Aberdeen Walmart did not have any of the carts, so I sent the manager a letter asking that they provide one,” Fischer says. “Later I learned that he did, but it was only recently that I discovered Jessie Mae and Vivian using it.”

Manufactured by Technibilt, the world’s largest cart company, Caroline’s Carts are placed in stores willing to provide them for patrons. The cart can seat a person weighing up to 250 pounds, so it can serve both adults and older special needs children.

Customers who shop at the local Walmart and have a special needs child or a non-ambulatory adult family member or friend, should ask to use Caroline’s Cart.

“Thanks to Richard Johnson, store manager, for placing the cart,” says Fischer. “Vivian Martin says he needs to have more than one to meet the needs of people like her mother.”

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