Pheonix, USA — A shopping trip to a local Target store became an unexpected emotional encounter for a mother and son.
In her viral Facebook post, Demi Garza-Pena told how something caught young Oliver’s attention upon entering the boy’s clothing department. It wasn’t an eye-catching item that made the boy intrigued, though. It was something much more valuable.
Above the clothing rack was an advertisement for kids’ graphic tees. In it was a boy like him: smiling while sitting in a wheelchair.
The 2-year-old boy was born with caudal regression syndrome, a disorder that impairs development in the lower half of the body. Ever since then, Oliver has used a wheelchair to get around.
After seeing his son in awe of the ad, Garza-Pena snapped a photo of the moment and shared it on Facebook. The photo has been shared for more than 33,000 times.
“It meant a lot to me as a parent, to see my child look at somebody and feel there are no differences,” said Garza-Pena. “Every parent never wants their child to be left out and that is often the case in advertisements. That day, he was not left out. He was represented.”
Furthermore, Garza-Pena’s photo was shared frequently enough that it reached the attention of Colton Robinson – the boy featured in the Target ad.
The 10-year-old’s mom, Ashley, said that their family was pleasantly surprised to learn of Oliver’s reaction to the ad.
“You could tell he was really connecting with it, which really means a lot to us that my son can, you know, be like a role model to him,” she said. “Colton thought it was adorable to have a little kid looking up to him. He’s never really had that before.”