Paul Schultz hasn't said a word in nearly 20 years. His only way of opening up is through an iPad loaded with apps designed to help with his severe autism.
"He is learning to communicate with it," said Paul's mom, Lindy Schultz.
Paul used the iPad every day in school, until someone popped the lock to his mom's truck and stole the iPad in broad daylight late last month.
"He was making progress with the one he had. And then bam, it's gone," Lindy Schultz said.
The crime damaged something critical to the 22-year old: his daily routine.
"He was crying. I couldn't console him," his mother said.
The Bradenton community knew they could help. Businesses quickly collected donations and delivered a brand-new iPad to Paul's hands on Wednesday afternoon.
"It fills my cup tremendously. To see him be able to go on in life, that's what it's all about. We should all unite as a community," said Sherri Palazzo, who works with Planet Stone & Marble, one of the companies that donated.
The act of compassion came from complete strangers. Paul's gratitude came in the form of a quiet smile, finally shining through again.
More than one iPad was donated to Paul. The extras will be donated to his special needs school in Bradenton.
FOX 13 / WTVT-TV
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