Saturday, July 3, 2010

Excuse Me...That Is Inappropriate

Today our town had a parade to celebrate Independence Day. Nina was terrified as soon as it started and Nichole was overheated and crying. I helped Andy load the girls in the stroller and stayed behind with Ellie.

While I was walking back to be with Ellie, who was waiting with one of my friends, the Tae Kwan Do group was parading with different kicks, turns, and I "yahs!" What caught my attention was a young man with Cerebral Palsy being pushed in his wheelchair. He was kicking and "yahing" right along the rest of his friends. He was not as coordinated, his "yahing" was not as clear, but he was giving it his best.

I heard some laughing. Two people were laughing at him, imitating him, making fun of him.

I was not sure what to do, but I knew I could not just walk away. So instead I walked to them.

"Excuse me" I said and got them to look at me, "What you are doing is very inappropriate."

Their eyes got big, they stared back.

"I have a daughter with cerebral Palsy just like the man you are laughing at, " I continued, "it hurts when people do what you are doing."

Oh they assured me they were not making fun of that young man.

"Well, whoever you were laughing at, I do want you to know, that to see a young man like him" I said pointing at the karate kid kicking his leg, "is inspirational. There he is following and living out his dream regardless of his limitations, and he should inspire you too, because most of us do not have that kind of strength and determination to pursue our dreams. Remember, he is inspirational."

The man assured me he agreed with me, and that there are many people with disabilities able to do many things. I smiled at him and walked away. I was shaking.

I sat down next to Ellie and finally allowed myself to breath a little.

It is not always easy to speak up, I really could have just kept walking and let it go. However, who was going to stand up for that man? Who will stand up for Nina? For Nichole? I will.

And maybe, just maybe, these two people learned that it is not okay to make fun of someone that looks a little awkward, or that cannot walk or talk well. Maybe, just maybe, next tie they will find them to be inspirational.


  1. Alex knows that CP man doing TaeKwonDo, worked out with him when we lived there. Alex said he was actually pretty good, despite his slight hearing loss & CP.

  2. I also think you are doing Ellie a great service. I'm sure it will be a little easier for her to know how to respond to people after watching you do it in such a positive way.
    Blessings :)

  3. When you stand up for a stranger and for your daughter, it encourages other people to do the same. Maybe not those rude people, but other people who overheard the conversation.

  4. You are my hero! I just wanted to stand up and cheer when I read this post! I am one of those people who are completely undecided at the moment and then, when it's passed, can come up with all kinds of things I should have said. Good for you for speaking out in the moment!

  5. Hi. I just recently found your blog and am loving learning about your family. I also have a child with CP and I am so glad that you had the guts to confront those people! Way to go girl!!!

  6. Just Awesome Ellen! You brought tears to my eyes, I am inspired by you stepping up and out of your comfort zone! You did a really, really great thing...


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