The Kindness I Experienced When I First Used My Wheelchair in Public

As a young kid, when I imagined myself as a teenager, I never thought that I would be using a wheelchair and needing one surgery at the age of 13, two at 14, and one at 15. But this is my life, and I have learned to accept it. Some people, on the other hand, have not.

The first time I used a wheelchair in public was when I was at the hardware store with my parents. I was wheeling around looking at different types of carpets, and I got some really nasty looks. Mostly adults. They were staring at me, trying to see if I was just using the wheelchair for fun. At 13 , I didn’t understand why people cared so much about a girl in a wheelchair. Trying to avoid the stares, I wheeled myself into a maze of Christmas decorations and just sat there.

When I left the maze of Santas and reindeer, I saw a little girl, walking around with her mom, dad, and her older sister and brother. She looked about 5. She made eye contact with me and flashed me a huge smile. It was so genuine, I forgot all of the mean looks I had gotten.

So dear little girl in the hardware store, thank you for making my day. You probably will never read this, but if you do, you won’t know that it was you who changed my day. I went home and cried. I cried because of the mean looks, and my lack of confidence. But mostly I cried because I think people should be more like you.

Thank you for being the good in a world with so little kindness. The world should learn something from you. Thank you, little girl in the hardware store. Thank you from the bottom of my heart.

The girl in the wheelchair, from the hardware store.

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