When a Little Boy Talked to My Grown-Up Son in Walmart


My son, Casey, and I just had the pleasure of meeting a beautiful soul. We were in Walmart in Vinita, Oklahoma, and, as is our policy, we were making a beeline to the toy section first because Casey does his shopping and then is happy to ride along while I do mine.

As we neared the toy aisle I noticed a young boy maybe 9 or 10 years old come out of the toy section. We passed him, but as we turned into the aisle I noticed in my peripheral vision that he’d turned around and was behind us.

Casey was looking into each aisle as we passed, giving me directions: “Nope, not this one, keep going… Oh, there’s the Thomas the Train aisle, keep going… Turn here, Momma, there’s the Air Hog aisle!”

We turned in and right behind us was the boy. He immediately struck up a conversation with Casey. Well, it was pretty much a one-sided conversation on his part, but you couldn’t tell that he noticed.

“Hi. Do you like Air Hogs?”

“Yeah.”

“Me too! This one right here is so cool. You can hold it in your hand, and it will take off and go all the way to the ceiling. Do you like this one?”

“Yeah.”

“Or maybe this one; this one lights up!”

“Yeah. Mom, I wanna four-wheeler.”

I tell Casey to introduce himself, and he sticks out his hand and says, “Hi, my name’s Casey.”

The boy’s name was Carter, and he proceeded to educate Casey on all the wondrous things he could do with the amazing (and thankfully inexpensive) four-wheeler. As he chatted away I stood back and watched. Occasionally he would pose a question to which the reply was always, “Yeah,” but the lack of response didn’t deter him; he simply chatted with Casey as a friend.

As I stood there watching I couldn’t help but wish his mother would come looking for him. Not because I wanted the moment to end but because I wanted to meet the person who raised such a boy — a boy who didn’t only see a wheelchair. It never seemed to even cross his mind to question the chair equipped with the rather bulky looking homemade shopping cart on its front of it. Nor did he only see a disability; he didn’t question why a grown man would have to ask his mom to buy him a toy four-wheeler; he just accepted Casey as another Air Hog enthusiast. And it was beautiful!

I wanted to thank his momma for the gifts she has given her son — the gift of a pure heart, of acceptance, of graciousness, but apparently she also raised him to be trustworthy because no one came looking to see what mischief he might have gotten into.

As they wound down their conversation, I thanked Carter for assisting us in what would have been a hard decision without all his guidance.

“Sure, anytime,” he said, as if he would be available next time as well. Then, “Bye Casey.”

“Bye,” Casey responded with a quick wave. Then to me, “Momma, I’m gonna need some new batteries for this awesome four-wheeler!”

Young adult man walking down gravel road
I looked back as we rounded the corner and there Carter stood, smiling at Casey — not at me, but at my son — the smile of a beautiful soul.

…It was a good day!

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