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Boy meets robot; wish comes true
[August 10, 2009]

Boy meets robot; wish comes true

BOCA RATON, Aug 10, 2009 (Sun Sentinel - McClatchy-Tribune Information Services via COMTEX) -- Little George was all eyes, mouth agape, as the 4-year-old came face to face with his favorite thing in the whole world. " Wall-E," the little robot chirped.

"It's cool," George said, astonished.

George Jacobs is a little boy from Washington, N.J., who was born with a form of cancer called neuroblastoma. At 5 months, he had to have a large tumor removed from behind his liver. He's had a kidney removed. They think it's in remission now.

But Sunday, none of that mattered. The Make-A-Wish Foundation had wanted to give George an experience he'd never forget. When they asked him what he wanted a few months ago, he replied, "I wanna see Wall-E." Perplexed, the family turned to the Internet, where they found Rick Newman. Newman has an astonishing collection of robots at his Boca Raton home. He has an original Robby the Robot from Lost in Space, the B9 from Forbidden Planet, R2-D2, and a host of smaller robots.

Most importantly, he had Wall-E, just like the star of the animated film that won an Oscar.

The Jacobs family - mom, dad and twin brother Thomas - flew to Florida last week, spent Saturday at Kennedy Space Center. They'll spend Monday at Disney World.

But George's priorities were elsewhere.

"Wall-E. That's all he has been talking about. He's been counting down the days," said his mother, Betsy Jacobs. "Last night he didn't want to go to sleep." George finally got his wish. He hung out with Wall-E and his robot girlfriend, Eve. And he played with dozens of robots, remote-controlled vehicles and a train set Newman had put together.

"It's the best thing in the world," Newman said, watching George and Thomas play. "This is exactly why I do what I do." After playtime was over, George and his brother were given dozens of gifts: a Wall-E bed set and sunglasses, robotic bugs and, of course, a Wall-E robot of his own.

When asked what his favorite robot or toy was out of the hundreds at Newman's house, George didn't hesitate.

"I like the Wall-E one," he said.

Brian Haas can be reached at [email protected] or 561-243-6633.

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