Nowadays when we watch TV, we never really watch TV. We’re either looking down at our phones or we’re talking to someone else in the room. For some, it’s more background noise than something to watch.
Luckily for Jack Carlson, someone was paying attention when he was featured in a local news segment, around Thanksgiving in 2017. He had no idea, but that someone, who didn’t even live in the same state as him, was about to change his life.
Jack Carlson lives in Maplewood, Minnesota.
In November 2017, Carlson was featured on KARE 11 for his work in the community. He is known locally as “Jack the bike guy” and provides children with special needs the opportunity to ride a bicycle by creating custom bikes.
The story was picked up by various media outlets across the country, including NBC Nightly News.
In November his story was broadcast across the country.
While watching television on Thanksgiving morning, Jean Peterson saw Carlson’s story. Immediately she noticed how kind Jack the bike guy was, but she also noticed something else.
Peterson, who is a dental hygienist in McLean, Virginia, noticed Carlson’s teeth.
“I turned to my husband and I said, ‘Wow, what a really nice guy, somebody should do something nice for him,'” Peterson told KARE 11.
Thousands were introduced to Jack the bike guy.
When Peterson said “somebody should do something nice for him,” that somebody she was talking about was her.
She contacted the dentist she worked for, Dr. Chong Lee, and they agreed to do the work for free.
Now, Peterson just had to tell Carlson.
Shortly after his story aired he received a phone call from Peterson.
“I didn’t know what to think, I really didn’t,” Carlson told KARE 11 after he received the call from Peterson. “She goes, ‘We want to fix your smile.'”
He shared with KARE 11 that he’s fully aware his teeth aren’t in the best condition, some are decaying while others are missing, but when money was tight his teeth weren’t a priority.
Prior to his trip to Virginia he needed some dental work done.
Before Carlson was able to be seen by Lee in Virginia he had to get some work done on his teeth at home. Knowing that money was tight, Peterson offered to pay Carlson’s dental bill, but the office where he received the x-rays and got his tooth extracted refused her offer.
“When this other dentist was willing to restore his whole mouth at no charge, there’s just no way that we could ask her to pay us anything for the work,” Dr. Michael Splett, a dentist at Maplewood Dental Associates where Carlson received his initial care, told KARE 11.
Carlson didn’t have to worry about paying a thing, all of the work was paid for.
Peterson raised money and used some of her own for Carlson’s trip to Virginia, including a 4-day stay at a hotel.
He didn’t have to worry about paying a single cent.
He was speechless when he saw his new set of teeth.
Carlson compared how he felt to how the children who receive his bikes feel, “seeing the expression on their face, I know how they feel now.”