Here’s the thing about strollers; they can hide a lot of truths, especially if you had no idea that a child had a special need or different ability just by looking at them. Of course, we live in a society where a lot of assumptions are made based on how a person looks.
Recently, the four of us were walking down the street, Ella in her stroller, Braeden and Raegan walking beside me. Raegan tripped and bumped her knee on the sidewalk. No biggie, that girl is CLUMSY. Really nothing remarkable about the situation until afterwards. The guy walking behind us offered her a high five for being so brave then chatted with the kids a bit before turning towards Ella.
“And what’s the matter with you? Do you have two broken legs in there?”
Now, I know he couldn’t know. And I know that he’s lucky that I can stay pretty calm in these situations because there’s a good chance he’d be walking away nursing a broken nose otherwise.
But, in that split second where my breath was sucked in, Braeden and Raegan jumped in;
“No! She can’t walk because she has cerebral palsy.”
So there, asshole. A five and three year old have more tact that you do. The interaction was a reminder for me, but also an eye opener for the kids; people will say hurtful things and make assumptions, especially when someone seems to stand out or be different. I hope, too, that it serves as a reminder to him, to stop and think before saying potentially hurtful things to other humans. We never know what burden others carry with them, what pain they know. And, so, instead of offering high fives with a side of asshole, hopefully in the future, those high fives are met with slightly more understanding and kindness, in the same way that they are accepted.