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Party bus ferries accident victim to medical appointment
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An excited Nikka Perez, 11, is shown how to control the CD player by Phil Waterford on her way to see her orthopedic surgeon in Sacramento on Monday. - photo by GLENN KAHL

Manteca businessman Phil Waterford continues to help with the recovery of the seriously injured Lincoln Elementary School sixth grader who was airlifted to the U.C. Davis Medical Center in Sacramento several weeks ago.

Nikka Perez, 11, was struck by a hit and run driver last month as she crossed Yosemite Avenue in the crosswalk at Washington Street.

Waterford, who says he has been back to visit the girl and family several times, volunteered to personally chauffer her in luxury to her orthopedic surgeon in Sacramento on Monday.  It was a complete surprise for Nikka when he pulled up to the curb of her home in a Mercedes party bus to take her, her mother and an aunt to Sacramento for her 1:30 appointment.

Waterford and her mother helped her navigate a walker to the sidewalk. He lifted her through the door protecting her leg in the process from making any contact with the doorway.  Once inside he demonstrated the power window between the driver and those in the back and took several CDs from his pocket for her to choose from – showing her how to control the volume and the tone.

He devoted the best part of his day to see she got to the U.C. Davis offices as safely and as comfortable as possible.  Waterford had already given the girl her wish of a shower spray attachment, an iPad Mini and a tutor while she remains at home.

Also on Monday Mona Elliott presented Nikka with a prayer shawl from St. Anthony’s Catholic Church to replace the one that was lost.  Linda Whaley of the Prayer Shawl Ministry of Calvary Community Church was waiting for Nikka to get back home to present her church’s prayers shawl, saying, “She’s just going to be loaded with prayers for her recovery.”

Nikka has one more possible surgery in her future when skin will be grafted over the injured leg.  Doctors were quoted by family members as saying they had to wait until it was clear how the healing was progressing on her right leg.

An account has been set up at Oak Valley Community Bank to help with expenses during her recovery such as the cost of gas driving to and from the doctor in Sacramento – something that wasn’t needed this week because of Phil Waterford’s gracious gesture.