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To the Man at Disneyland Who Said, 'I Wish I Were Handicapped'

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Dear Ignorant Man,

Thank you for letting me know that you “wish you were handicapped so you would be able to cut everyone in line at Disneyland.” I really appreciate you taking the time to inform us that we were walking in the “exit and that we didn’t look handicapped” to you. My 4-year-old and I, minding our own business, felt privileged that you took the time out of your day to make ours better and set us straight.

If you would like, I’m happy to swap my child having had infantile spasms for your place in line. You let me know when you’d like to make that switch. I’d invite you to Google “infantile spasms” and read at least one article, and then go ahead let me know if my child “deserves” to “cut everyone in line.”

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You see, sir, my daughter doesn’t yet understand lines. She doesn’t know why we have to wait; she physically can’t wait without an extraordinary struggle. She loves Disney, but according to you, she shouldn’t have “special treatment.” Again, if we’ve offended you in our special treatment, I’m so happy to switch places in line if you’ll also take her “handicap.”

Now, I do understand that some may abuse Disney’s disability pass, and that’s why it’s so bloody tedious getting one each time you go to the park. I’m sure those who have cheated the system are the root of your frustration and your downright shameful attitude, but let me tell you this: you can’t visibly see all disabilities. You can’t see infantile spasms. You can’t see cancer. You can’t see traumatic brain injury.

girl posing for photo

Don’t judge my child and myself by how we look. Maybe we are cheats, or maybe we just want to enjoy a piece of the magic like everyone else. Did your wife cry at Disneyland? Did your kid lay on the floor in the stores because they couldn’t express their wants and needs? Did you get held to the side for shoplifting because your purchases had a sensor on them without your knowledge while your child yelled and pulled everything off the shelves? Did you drip sweat chasing your kid, making sure she didn’t God forbid touch anyone else? Did you eat as fast as you could or not at all, so you could make sure your child didn’t knock over anyone else’s food? Did you feel the need to look at perfect strangers and justify your life? Did you try with everything in your being to just feel “normal” for a day? If you answered yes to all those things then, sir, I commend you. If you didn’t, I simply have one recommendation. Think before you speak.

Do I wish I spoke up and said something in the moment? No! I’m happy I picked myself and my child up and we hopped right on that Mater’s Junkyard Jamboree ride. As we whisked and whipped around in loops we let your negativity fly off us. Don’t pity us; pity yourself and your ignorance.

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Originally published: July 18, 2015
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