Strangers Give Surf Lessons to Teen With Cerebral Palsy

Today’s kindness spotlight covers a sweet story of a teen with cerebral palsy who always dreamt of learning how to surf and the strangers who decided to teach him. 

Meet Aaron Minnick

While sitting on the jetty watching surfers ride to shore with his father, Aaron Minnick shared his dreams of one day learning to surf. “Surfing is on my life’s bucket list,” he said. Needless to say, Minnick, 19, was surprised when a stranger stopped by and offered to take him.

Veronica Ancheta Wold had stopped to watch the surf too and overheard Minnick talking to his dad. A kind stranger, she chatted them up and asked why Minnick hadn’t tried to catch a wave yet. After learning that he didn’t have anyone to teach him, Wold took it upon herself to make sure Minnnick could cross surfing off of his list.

According to the OC Register, “They made a date to meet on the sand at 2:30 on Thursday, July 15.” What Minnick didn’t know at the time, however, was that he would be met by Wold and a crew of locals teaming up to support his cause.

The Big Day

After their chance meeting, Wold decided to share her plans to teach Minnick how to surf on social media. She shared their story in local groups and pages in hopes that readers might feel inspired to contribute. The goal was to make Minnick’s surf lesson as memorable as possible. We’re willing to bet that she wasn’t quite prepared for the response she would soon receive. Warmed by her kindness and intent on participating, the community rallied around Minnick’s big day. 

According to the OC Register, Minnick was “greeted by friends and complete strangers” when he showed up at the beach on Thursday. The owner of Performance Paddling, Anthony Vela, provided Minnick with a professional surf lesson. He was even gifted “a 9-foot orange soft-top surfboard, brought to the beach by Killer Dana Surf Shop owners Carrie and Mike Foster” to keep and practice on in the future!

Upon laying eyes on his gift, Minnick fought back tears exclaiming, “That’s my board. I’ve never had my own board.”

Vela started Minnick’s surf lesson with a little sand practice, and before he knew it, Minnick was in the water learning to surf for real! After popping up and falling down a few times, Minnick was soon able to ride a wave all the way to shore, greeted by cheers and applause from his father, Wold, and all his fans! Having battled the effects of cerebral palsy all his life, this was quite a brave and impressive feat!

Overwhelmed by gratitude, Minnick’s father, Dan Minnick, told the OC Register, “This is one of the happiest days of my life. I’ve always known there are great people in the world. I’ve seen neat things like this on TV. I never thought my kid would be a recipient of such a grand moment. He was so happy and so touched.”

And none of it would have been possible had it not been for the kindness of a stranger! So on behalf of all of us here at City of Kindness, a giant thank you to Wold and her crew for all their kindness and generosity toward making Minnick’s big day one he’ll never forget!

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