Bibb high school students modify electric toy car for 4-year-old

MeiMei White's Fisher-Price speed buggy was in the shop.

The accelerator pedal needing moving, from the right side to the left.

MeiMei, who is 4, has a prosthetic lower right leg so she can't make the electric kiddie car go with her right foot when she sits in it.

Two students at the Hutchings Career Center's automotive shop heard about MeiMei's toy go-cart from a teacher. The students took on the project this month as part of their coursework's community-service requirements.

Today, when MeiMei showed up at the school to check out their handiwork, she cried. Oh, the car was fine.

It was just that MeiMei, adopted from the Chinese province of Jiangsu when she was 18 months old, apparently wasn't expecting an audience of three local TV-news crews and a couple of dozen other strangers.

When her mom, Kelley White, tried to coax her into the buggy, MeiMei — pronounced "may-may" — cried some more.

"We just gave her the bill," joked Sonny Reeves, the school's automotive instructor, a former repair-shop owner. "This is how my customers used to do."

"Come on," MeiMei's mom said, "have a seat. ... They worked really hard on this."

But MeiMei wanted no part of any photo-op test spin.

"I just told her about the car a day ago," Kelley White said. "She's been excited about coming up here to get it. ... I've been trying to find somebody to fix it for her. My husband is not very handy."

But students Kaile Jones and Yuhaana Rogers managed to wire the pedal, hot-glue its plastic casing in place and carpet the car's floorboard.

"I can remember being a kid and wanting one of these cars," Jones, 17, said. "I had one you had to pedal."

Said Rogers: "I enjoyed working on it. It touched the inner-kid in me. ... To give a little kid what you never had, that's pretty cool."