Mahalia takes the triplets Hannah, Rileigh and Isabelle for a quick ride around the yard in their new Radio Flyer wagon. Lachlan Labere/Salmon Arm Observer

Radio Flyer donates new set of wheels to triplets

Company reads of damaged wagon in the Observer, offers a replacement

Salmon Arm’s identical triplets are on the move again thanks to a donation from Radio Flyer.

The red wagon used almost daily by Mike and Mahalia Meeuwsen to transport their 23-month-old daughters, Hannah, Rileigh and Isabelle, was recently destroyed in a hit-and-run collision in Salmon Arm’s Ross Street parking lot.

On Sept. 27, Meeuwsen and a friend were in the process of loading the triplets into her vehicle with the wagon left sitting empty behind and slightly to the side of the van.

A woman who was parked beside Meeuwsen began backing up and ran over the special red Radio Flyer wagon. The driver stopped and Meeuwsen pulled the damaged wagon out from under the woman’s car. When the driver rolled down the window, Meeuwsen expected she would stay and step up to replace it. Instead, the woman looked at her and drove away – before Meeuwsen could get the license plate of the white import sedan.

With no security camera footage, there was little the RCMP could do to track down the driver.

With three active toddlers, Meeuwsen says she used the wagon nearly every day. She had spent a few months finding it online, because it is large enough for the three girls and had seat belts for all three — a must with three toddlers who sometimes want to escape. To buy new, the wagon would be nearly $800.

After reading about the situation in the Salmon Arm Observer’s online edition, staff at Radio Flyer, which manufactures wagons and other children’s toys, decided this was not acceptable.

They contacted the Observer from their offices in Chicago, explaining they wanted to replace the Meeuwsen’s wagon free of charge. A few phone calls later and the new wagon arrived at their door this week.

“It was just amazing of them,” says Meeuwsen. “I can’t believe Radio Flyer heard about this and just instantly wanted to step up and do something for us. That wagon is a lifeline for us, so we can get out of the house and get things done. I’m just so grateful.”


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