We all do it. We judge others by their looks, color, smell, height, weight, disability and such. It’s a nature of humans and as much as we try not to it happens in some way or another. It can be cruel or funny, like when you see the tall skinny guy wearing stripped pants that barely cover his knees yet he’s also wearing sandals with black socks. Okay fashion police please. It could be his style and he’s out spoken for his looks, that’s okay he’s the one wearing it and likes the looks he gets. For others maybe it’s the only thing they can afford at the thrift store or hand me downs from one who cared to put clothes on a less fortunate person.
As I was reading comments on a post from another social network I started to think about when I write stories. I do a lot of people watching for research. The expressions of faces, clothing, styles, emotions. Everything about the human interactions of others. I love to think about what another person life must be like by the way they walk and carry themselves.
The other day I was watching my grandkids play at a indoor bounce house. I sat by the door and watched parents, grandparents and kids come through the door. An older lady caught my attention. She was as round as she was tall. Her arms were full of tote bags, snacks, back pack, and a diaper bag. A little girl walked up and handed her dolly to her. The woman’s face showed love towards the girl but at the same time was like, “how am I supposed to hold that too.” She raised her arm and the girl placed it under her pit then ran off. The woman looked around and dropped everything at the nearest table. In the larger bag she pulled out a canister that was maybe 12 inches high. Attached was a long clear tube. Seconds later a man walked up pushing a child wheel chair. In it was a thin frail boy. The woman placed the tubing under his nose and behind his ears. The man picked the boy up in his arms as the woman placed the canister in a strap and buckled it over the mans’ shoulder.
The boy, excited, threw his head back and giggled. I had to tear up and smile myself, he was so happy. The man walked over to a smaller bounce house for toddlers and placed the boy just inside the opening, Kids were jumping around as the house bopped. The boy laid on his back as the man stood just outside with the tank. I think every adult around stopped what they were doing and cried at the joy the boy was getting out of bouncing.
But as we all know happy things come to an end. One mother walked up to the man and must of said something to upset him. He reached in and took the boy out. He kissed his forehead and headed back to the table, placing him back into the stroller. The older woman must have known what was said, she smiled at the man and they sat quietly for a few minutes staring blankly through the crowd of giggles, screams of happiness and joy of other children.
It made me sad.
I noticed the one tote bag and tried to read all the words. SUPPORT SAVI is what I saw. Curious I googled it. The disease is called STING-associated vasculopathy with onset in infancy (SAVI). It’s an autoinflammatory disease, involving an immune-system malfunction that causes prolonged inflammation that in turn can damage the body. It can cause death in children.
As I finished reading the article I saw another woman walk up to the man and lean down to the boy. She picked up his hand and started talking to him. The boy rocked back and forth and smiled. Then I heard her ask why the man took him out of the bounce house and if he’d bring him back because he was having so much fun. Not to be nosey mind you but they were talking over the noise of the place. The man pointed to the woman who came up to him and said she asked if he take the boy out while her son was playing in it because she didn’t want to be responsible for any injuries on his ‘disabled child’. They must get those words a lot since neither one reacted to it, instead abided by the request.
This other woman shook her head and said, “No, he has just as much right to be here as her son, please bring him back, if she doesn’t like it her son is capable of enjoying other bounces. The man said it was okay he was fine watching. The woman insisted, stood up and motioned for some of the other parents to come over. I saw several follow and even the one that asked them to leave.
A discussion started about the boy and the woman said she didn’t know his situation and just by his ‘looks’ it scared her and didn’t want blame.
Judgment is the unknown in a world that is so black and white these days.
The grandmother, as I learned, said her daughter works six days a week trying to support her son and daughter. He doesn’t get to enjoy many things in life that other children take advantage of so coming to the bounce house when they can afford it was special to him. They understood her concerns and told her it made them happy just to see what joy he can have in his final days with them.
Well those words silenced everyone, I swear I think the whole place got quiet and I realized I wasn’t the only one who over heard the conversation. Eyes locked on the boy, a younger man asked if he could take him down the huge slide as his own son stood by his side. The grandparents looked at one another and shook their heads yes.
By the time I left there a group of strangers had become friends. And this group of friends had a better understanding of children with needs. And the best part was a lesson of not to judge others by their looks or the shoes on their feet without wearing them first.
My own granddaughter has *Angelman syndrome so I can relate to those grandparents.