NEW ORLEANS, LA (WVUE) – A New Orleans man, Gregg Chaisson, sought to help his co-worker in need.
James Wade lost hearing as a child and worked with Gregg for nearly six years at a hardware store in Jefferson.
His previous pair of hearing aids stopped working about five years ago.
"I felt like he was living in the dark, and I just wanted to help him out of it any way I could," said Chaisson. "He solely relies on lip reading."
He also stated that James has such a great attitude and wonderful sense of humor.
It broke Chaisson's heart watching his friend struggle so hard to communicate. He took action starting a Go Fund Me account without informing his friend.
He asked Wade if he could take his photo, and he proceeded to put up what Chaisson thought was the "rock and roll hand sign," but Wade let him know it was actually the sign for love.
"People stepped up in a big way really fast.. faster than I expected, and the rest is history," Chaisson said.
They met the fundraising goal of $2,500 within a month. This was in great part to friend and co-worker contributions but also with the help of a local Audiologist, Dr. Kim Juneau Hearing LLC.
"She provided the fitting and the actual hearing aids at a big discount, so any extra money raised was put on a gift card for James. Really amazing" Chaisson said.
They surprised Wade at work with the news he was getting new hearing aids, and his reaction was to fold his hands over his face and cry. He shared just exactly why this meant so much to him.
"When people don't understand the way I pronounce words sometimes, and I have a hard time understanding them… it makes them angry or frustrated, and I don't like that," Wade said.
Wade does not have to worry about that anymore.
Juneau fitted him with his new hearing aids at her facility in Jefferson a week ago. His reaction was priceless. He flitted his eyes in surprise and could not stop smiling.
Wade said he is looking forward to hearing loud sounds such as motorcycles and airplanes again, but especially television and music.
"Music, you feel the vibration, you know, the drums… all the drums… when you hear it, it's loud. Oh, when I hear that, it's beautiful," Wade said.
When he and Chaisson drove away from the facility, Wade proceeded to dance to a familiar Led Zeppelin song he had not heard in years.
Chaisson had a few parting words in regard to helping his friend, "Maybe if anything inspires someone else to help somebody, that's all I need from it. That's all I can hope for."