Public offers to help replace stolen golf cart

Jack O'Neill shows where his golf cart is usually parked. The cart was stolen over the weekend, and strangers have offered to help replace it.

Laurie O'Neill has been totally overwhelmed by strangers' response to the story of her son's stolen golf cart.

"It restores my faith in mankind, it really does," she said.

Laurie's special-needs son, Jack, used the electric 1995 Club Car to get around their 7-acre property in rural Berkeley County.

Jack, 28, was born two months early, deaf, with a chromosomal imbalance and a host of other health issues. Five years ago, cochlear implants allowed him to hear.

The cart - marked "Jack's Ride" on the front plate - was stolen from an outbuilding on the O'Neill's property sometime Saturday night.

Laurie was heartbroken for her son, she said.

"He kind of finally realized that there are bad people in the world," she said. "I didn't want to have to tell him that because he's so trusting."

On Wednesday, he got to see the good in humankind again.

After a story appeared in Wednesday's editions of The Post and Courier, more than 15 people offered to help., a local crowdfunding website, offered to set up a fundraising campaign for the O'Neills, and the owners of Shamans Smoke Shop and Oops I Forgot Gift Shop, both in Summerville, said they put out donation collection jars.

Individuals offered to donate money, new license plates and even golf carts.

"My golf cart was stolen, too, so I understand how he feels," said Robert Cook of Bonneau Beach.

O'Neill said the response has been overwhelming, and she and her husband, Gary O'Neill, are grateful. "Replacing it would cost a lot of money and right now we just don't have it," she said.

Reach Brenda Rindge at 937-5713 or @brindge on Twitter.