Tuesday, June 19, 2012

The Mall, Aldi, and a Big White Van

A trip to my favorite grocery store has me once again thinking...

Our town has the benefit of a wonderful 'Day Program' for adults with mental and physical disabilites.  It's not unusual to pull into the parking lot of a local business and see a handicap accessible van.  It's common to see men and women walk or roll their way around our tiny mall, getting their daily exercise.  Often they are checking items off of their grocery list as they fill their cart and learn the Life Skills of budgeting and nutrition.

These men and women go about their daily tasks much like anyone else... save for one thing.  In an attempt to not make these individuals feel "different" or call attention to them, we have, in fact, alienated them.

Have we really tipped the scales the other way?

There are no stares... but neither is there the eye contact and friendly "Hello" so often exchanged in our small town.
I think, perhaps, these individuals have come to accept this as the norm.  For years I've tried to at least acknowledge if not engage them when our paths cross.  And you know what?... it's difficult.  Rarely do I find a man or woman who looks to me expecting this type of common courtesy.

So the next time you see a RCS van unloading, please do this Mommy a favor.  Make eye contact.  Offer a warm hello and a smile.  Because one day, the young man getting out of the van just might be my son.


  1. :'/ You just made me cry. I never cry. Well- unless it's over adoption, redemption or the Spirit of God.


    Beautiful post, Mama.

  2. Yep. I just teared up. You are so right, Carla. This is the other Jodi, btw.

  3. The tears are flowing--from one Mom's heart to another.
    we can change this one van load one smile at a time.

    Linda Batt

  4. I have often wondered if all those scornings of "Don't stare!" were going to cause a 180-turn in the way people with disabilities are treated. Your post confirms this. They are IGNORED! It's so sad! I, like you, always offer eye contact and a "hello" when the opportunity is there, but I just wish there was some way to figure out how to make the world accept them as NORMAL. This seems to be a huge can of worms, and I know there are many excuses and ideas out there... I just wanted to say that I feel ya!