Meeting an old Friend at Target

Last night I went to Target to buy wrapping paper. I also stopped by the toy department to see about getting clothes for my nieces favorite doll. As I looked around I noticed a young boy sitting on the floor playing with an action figure. He looked up to ask his mom if he could have it and I immediately recognized the boy and his mother. I said hello and reminded her when we met. She took a second to have it register then to my pure delight hugged me. She told me she was frazzled that day and thought about how kind I was to help her. It was lovely.

I said hello to the young man and he shook my hand. He was very grown up from when I last saw him and we chatted for a few minutes about his action figure. His mom and me talked about the stress of holiday shopping and I proudly told her I was almost done with my shopping and hadn't had to yell at anyone yet. I said goodbye to my young friend, hugged his mother, and headed out, but not before grabbing one of the action figures. I paid for my things and then went back to the toy department. They had moved onto clothes and I quickly found them.

I gave her the action figure and told her to give it to her boy from Santa. She was touched by my gesture, which made my heart sing. It took a little convincing but she took the gift and told me she would give it to him from Santa. She is a wonderful woman and her son is a remarklable young man. I came home and was surprised to see it has been years since I originally met them. I am reposting part of the blog I wrote all those years ago because the message should be shared again. To this beatiful family know I love you and if I see the crazy woman again I'll deck her!

*A version of this blog was originally posted May 26, 2010

Yesterday I went shopping at Target. I was preoccupied and not really paying attention when I walked into a little boy.  He looked to be about 6 years old, and was standing alone in the aisle.  I bent down and told him I was sorry, asked if he was okay, and he assured me he was. I asked the little boy who he was with, and he told me his mommy.  I took his hand and told him we would find her. He asked me to pick him up, which I did.  I asked what his mom’s name was and began to call out for her. We quickly found her as she frantically looked for him

She was lovely and happy to have her boy back in her sight. I passed off the little man and told her to have a good day. The little boy, who had Down’s Syndrome, asked me what my name was. I told him and he responded with, “Thank you Ilana.  I love you.”  It was precious. About 20 minutes later I was leaving the register when I heard the boy calling my name.  I turned around and saw he was in line with his mom in the shopping cart. I waved and said hello. He asked to be let out of the cart. I told the mother it was fine and I'd stay until she paid.

This woman was super cute, whispered thank you, and took her son out of the cart. As he made his way over to where I was he “pushed” a woman to get to me. It wasn’t a shove, he simply gave her a little push so he could get by.  He passed her, ran over, and said, “Hi Ilana”. I lifted him up, put him on the counter of an unused register, and we talked until his mother finished paying. He asked if I like to chew gum, which I do, and we talked about gum. His mother came over and thanked me for the help, then we headed out of the store together.

As I walked to my car the woman the little boy pushed out of his way was getting into the car next to me.  She asked where my little boy was. I told her he was not my child just a friend.  She told me I should tell my friend that her son was rude and hurt her foot when he pushed her. I think I actually started to laugh and asked if she was serious. I told her he didn't push her, but just rushed past her and he was not intentionally trying to hurt her. I apologized for him, rolled my eyes, and went to get into my car. As I closed my door she called me a bitch.

Well. I got out and said, “I beg your pardon?” She told me I was going to hell. Oh. My. God. Who was this woman? I about lost my mind but instead asked her calmly what she was talking about. She explained it as if we were talking about the weather. Apparently, if you have a child with Down’s Syndrome it means God is punishing you. God was punishing this woman for being a sinner by giving her a “damaged” child.  He was punishing every person who has a child with Down’s Syndrome for a countless array of sins and I was just as bad for supporting her.

Seriously? How is it possible this opinion can exist? This little boy was an angel, as are all children. Kids are innocent and to have hatred directed at a child is crushing to me.  I cried the entire way home, and not a pretty cry but a heaving, snotty cry. I am most importantly and before all else a mother. Some things are off limits and the top of that list is children. To the woman at Target, you are disgusting and pathetic. I could write a million things and none of them are nice. Instead I will simply pray for you although I am not sure that will even help you.

Kids are not born knowing hate, they are taught to hate. I have raised my own child to see people as people. He has friends of all religions and all colors. Gay, straight, rich, poor, black, white, yellow, blue, Jew, or Muslim, he sees people as equal and I can assure you it was easier to teach him equality than it would have been to teach him hate. He is kind because that is how I raised him and in turn it is how he will raise his own kids. Hate is everywhere, but kindness is more powerful. Remember that. May God bless all our children. Keep the faith.