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When Someone at a Restaurant Used the Word 'Crippled' After Seeing My Daughter

I work at a restaurant on Sundays. Yesterday I brought my daughter Charlie-Anne with me for a half-hour before her dad came to pick her up. He had dinner and took her home. On the way out Charlie yelled, “I’ll miss you!” I yelled back, “I’ll miss you too!”

Another table saw Charlie and the woman looked sad, and was frowning. She said to her friends, “Aww, I just feel so sad for that little girl.” Her friend responded, “Well, at least she’s out and about.” And then the first woman went on to say, “I once knew this ‘crippled’ guy…”

Ugh. I cannot stand that word. I despise it. Their whole conversation just aggravated me. Charlie is doing so much more than “just getting by” and “getting out there.”

It can be hard being a fly on the wall in your own life — to see the way people think of you by the obvious sad looks on their faces. I know people don’t mean to be hurtful, but I just wish they knew Charlie’s story.

I wish they knew that next month she will be turning 9 after being told she wouldn’t see 1.

I wish they knew she has fought 100 sicknesses in the hospital and has had many close calls but is always smiling.

I wish they knew she is the best reader in her class in her third grade class.

I wish they knew Charlie has a sassy sense of humor beyond her years and she slays at geography – so much so, she could teach everyone a thing or two.

I wish they knew she’s been to Hawaii and LA and she goes to Earl’s happy hour with her mom often, where everyone knows her.

I wish they knew Charlie is a Canuck Place Children’s Hospice Spokeskid and is the reason the Charlie’s Angels group has raised over $175,000 for spinal muscular atrophy (SMA) and Canuck Place.

If they knew all of that, they wouldn’t feel sorry for her, they’d feel proud of her.

My daughter is not a “cripple.” She is a warrior.