Shelly Wall’s son, Noah, have had to deal with a lot of obstacles in his short life. He was born with Spina Bifida, and as a result, is paralyzed from the waist down. In order to help her son cope in their day-to-day life, he uses a ZipZac chair. Since Noah is too small for a regular wheelchair, this adorable race car-shaped chair allows him to move around on his own. As a toddler, he can roll around, pushing the wheels as he will in a wheelchair when he gets a little older.
But the security guard at Harrods had never seen one, and thought that the family was trying to pull a fast one by letting their son bring a large toy into the store.
Shelly insisted that it was wheelchair for toddlers, but the guard simply said “it doesn’t look like a wheelchair.” He turned the distraught family away, even after Shelly informed him that Noah was paralyzed from the chest down and couldn’t walk into the store even though he wanted to very badly.
It was an awful experience, but she wants to use it to inform the public. She wants people to know what disabilities look like – and that these chairs are used by many toddlers in order to get around instead of cumbersome chairs.
The store reached out to the family, saying “we are very sorry to hear of your experience at Harrods today and we sincerely apologize for the offense and distress this has caused you and your son.” They even invited the family to come back to the shop and have a free meal at the Disney Cafe.
Shelly just wants everyone to be aware and hopes that this sort of discrimination never happens to anyone else – least of all excited toddlers who just want to go to the toy shop.
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