Sunday, October 5, 2008

Okay Seriously, Why Do I Run Into All Of The Idiots?

Andy and I went to Toys R Us today to get Rhett his birthday present. When I was there a week ago, I found this really cool Harley Davidson Trike on clearance for like $24.00. I know the link I just gave you it shows that it is $200.00, I am telling you I know how to bargain shop.

Anyways, we had Rhett and Chloee with us. Rhett was being a wild crazy know, Geeze mom I am in a toy store that is gigantic, and I need to tear everything apart.... that type of mood. So while I went up to the cash register Andy put Rhett up on his shoulders and walked out.

The lady at the register was watching him the whole way out. I thought, oh, she is going to tell me how cute he is, cause he was being cute, he was telling everyone bye, and waving, smiling his HUGE Rhett smile. Boy was I wrong.

I get up there, unload everything and she looks at me and says, "What's wrong with your son?"


I said, "Um, he has had some heart and lung issues and he has a feeding tube in his tummy."

"No," she says in an annoyed tone. "What is WRONG with his face."

Ah, once again I am thrown into reality that my son has an extra chromosome, and people are starting to notice it more as he gets older.

I politely smiled at her, and said, "Oh! He has Trisomy 21, you might know it as Down syndrome."

She stops for a second, looks at the trike, and says, "That is an interesting syndrome isn't it, Do you think he will EVER REALLY learn to ride this bike?"

"Oh yes", I say. "I bet by Christmas I won't be able to keep up with him. He is an extraordinary child, and he can do anything that any other child can do. I am the luckiest mom on earth to be blessed with such wonderful children."

Her mouth drops open, and she says in a very annoyed voice, "Well, my sister just found out that her baby was going to be a Down's baby and she aborted it. There is no way that we could have a child like THAT in our family."

I really didn't know what to say, and by this time I had paid and was collecting my items and putting them back in my cart.

I just kind of looked at her and said, "Well, I am sure that your sister made whatever choice that she felt was best, but my personal opinion is that she made a big mistake. I wouldn't trade my son for anything. He is here on this earth just the way he was meant to be, in my eyes he couldn't be more perfect."

She mumbles about how it was the only option, and I replied that it wasn't. I explained to her that there is a waiting list in the US for people wanting to adopt a child with Down syndrome.

At this point I think she was done, and had a few things to think about. I know I did.

I have always heard that 90% of women who are diagnosed prenatally as having a child with Down syndrome abort, but I have never known anyone, or come that close to knowing someone who had made that choice. It hurt. It hurt knowing how much I love Rhett, and how much my family loves Rhett.

He brings us laughter, peace, and love. We love all of the little things in life now that we never saw before. How do I explain this in a 5 min conversation with a stranger?

I can't.

I can only tell them that we love him and would not have him any other way. I just wish more people "got it," you know?

Do any of you ever have these types of encounters? Because in the last year I have had 4 of them. It just seems so crazy that people can be so ignorant.

Oh well, Rhett ended up with a cool trike for super cheap anyways. I always knew he was a Harley type of kid.


Crystal said...

I am SO sorry you had to have that conversation. I imagine it hurt. It hurt me just reading it. Rhett is so precious. I love him and I haven't even met him in person. I know I'm not the only one who feels that way.

What's truly sad, is I don't think people mean to be rude when they say such things. Ignorance seems to be epidemic these days.

But, if anything good can come of this, I think it's that you planted a seed. The cashier may not realize it today or even a year from now. But one day the seed you planted might just help her make an important decision.

So well played.

My Three Sons said...

Well I guess the only thing I can say here is thank goodness Rhett has you for a mother. He gets to live and prove to everyone how having DS doesn't slow him down and yes, he can function like the rest of us!

We can all pray for that cashier and her sister. They have to live with that decision.

I think you did one heck of a job. I would have lost my cool and brought the manager in. If I was you, I would contact the manager tomorrow or write a letter to corporate office. For goodness sakes, she works in a toy store. How many more people is she going to offend?

Okay, I'll be fine. Just needed to vent. Thanks for listening.

I wouldn't lose any sleep over her if I was you.

PS, I hope your feeling better.

Randi said...

I am a long time reader of your blog.
WOW, I can not belive that this conversation really happened!
You could not have handled that situation any more perfect Pam. The cashier was obviously very ignorant about Down Syndrome but to be so flat out rude?! And in a toy store! I am floored! I don't have any children yet but I am not sure I could have kept my cool!
Rhett is so so blessed to have such wonderful parents.
Thank you for sharing this situation. I will add this person and her family in my prayers tonight, I hope that one day they will understand. You did plant the perfect seed, kudos to how you reacted.
God Bless
Happy Early Birthday Sweet Rhett :-)

Anonymous said...

I think you should tell everyone a bit more about this cashier... that way they can take THEIR children with DS through her line as well. Maybe if she sees a variety and yet the consistency of their families adoring them... it'll really make her think.

Too bad that wasn't exactly a conversation where you would catch her name. I really like the idea of a bunch of kids with DS marching in there through her line. That's how we have handled similar situations in the past.

Then again I'm just evil that way. :)

little.birdy said...

While I can understand that having a child with special needs can be heartbreaking and scary at first, I don't see why she had to be so rude to you because you chose to take on the challenge. She was herself the kind of ignorant person her sister was probably thinking about when she chose to abort her baby, the kind of person who stares and asks "What's wrong with him?" when looking at a beautiful, happy child. You handled that so well, and I hope that cashier learns some tolerance soon, or at least some manners.

datri said...

OMG! I can't believe that! I think you should call, or at least send an email to TRU about this. After all, they DO have the differently-abled toy catalog that features a lot of kids with DS!

You handled that very well. I would have been screaming at her or else crying uncontrollably when I got back to the car.

Ann said...

I think children bring out the best and the worst in people. Fortunately, it is not very often that we get to see the worst! Although I think that it is wrong that you had to deal with such outright meanness, it was not about you or Rhett. I would never want to be inside that woman's head and heart. She lives there and it is an ugly place.

Amanda said...

Oy Pam, I'm so sorry you had to deal with that kind of ignorance, in a toy store! Geez! Retail will hire any warm body eh? You held your own though, be proud of yourself!!! You advocated for Rhett like a champ. :) I'm sure he'll be running circles around you on that trike very soon!!

Niksmom said...

OMG! Pam,I am utterly outraged at the woman's crass and rude behavior. But then again, you handled it so incredibly well; I would have totally lost it!

Ordinarily, I would say just let it go but I think the point someone else made about TRU and their Differently Abled catalog is good; they should be called on the carpet for it. At the very least, upper management should know that their employees may need some serious sensitivity training!

Oh, FWIW, I *totally* get Rhett as a Harley dude! LOL

The Bryant Family said...

I think I would have lost it.....I think they would have been calling the popo on me because I wuold have had to slap her a little. :) I havent had to deal with comments other than he is so cute-which sometimes means the same thing. They have nothing else to say because they dont know what to say....but those who know our could you not love them to pieces. ONERY like no other.
Feel better soon. I hope Rhett enjoys the Elmo things and paint. Happy Birthday to him!!!! (they have grown so fast huh?)

Michelle said...

Well, honey - you know of my encounters. No need to reiterate. I'm sorry that something like this happened again! That woman is a poor lost soul! And you? You've got it all figured out. Hugs...

Jake & Stephanie Ellinger said...

People can be so stupid. I've had a ton of comments about why my little boy has a helmet; like does he have long term brain damage etc. People need to learn to think before they say stupid things. All DS kids I've met are perfect and their parents all say that their child with DS was the biggest blessing bestowed upon their family.

I had a question for you though. Nathan is starting to have granulation tissue at his g-tube site. I think its because he's becoming a little more active and we've been pushing him to be on his tummy more. I've given him the cream and tried to tape it down as best as possible but its not working too great. Do you have any suggestions on how you keep Rhett's site from getting that tissue? What do you do since he is so active and moving a lot?

Would you send me an email or leave a comment on my blog about it?


Thanks Pam,


Kristen said...

You are such a better person than me. I think that I may have gone off! My blood is boiling for YOU! I am so sorry that you had to go through that.

Dawn said...

I would have been in jail by the time she was done. I feel the same as you Eian is a prefect little angel and God put him here for a reason. Rhett is Beautiful and He as well as ya'll are lucky. give him a big huggy from us.

Tonya said...

1st off, Rhett is very cute, and adorable, with amazing smiles, that you share with us. And many many of us just adore your son, and entire family.

2nd, Although I don't have any children with special needs, I have no idea how I would end up handling something like that. But I can say that you handled it far better then any way I would have thought up. I either would have ran crying from the store, or stood there screaming at her.

I probably would have wanted to talk to a manager, but I don't know what good it would have done? They generally don't do sensitivity training of any sort, despite their 'Differently Abled' toy catalog. They might fire or otherwise reprimand her, but then she might end up losing out on any lesson she may have learned about how beautiful children with ds. I do hope she gets more exposure to what ds is. And their children with ds deserve their life just as much as anyone else. And I hope that she gets to see more of the love that people with ds, and other special needs, have to offer.

((((huge hugs)))) Pam, you're an amazing mom, and an amazing advocate!!

Chris said...

It is obvious that woman needed to make herself feel justified for the decision her sister felt she HAD to make. How sad for her, how sad for her sister. How sad that people are so ignorant. I think it is safe to say you educated her. I'm sorry you had to be put in that position, but I thank you for being such a great advocate!

I have to agree with those who commented above. I do think a call to TRU is justified. What she said to you was totally inappropriate, mean, not to mentioned wrong.

Shannon @ Gabi's World said...

I never run into these people, but I would definitely call Toys r us and complain. Shoot girl! Go to the TOP! Toys r us uses people in their ads with special needs! I am sure corporate would be ever so wanting to set it straight if you point out how unaccepting and rude she was about your child!

Now I wanted to share that I faced the news of one of our wonderful kids being aborted when I was pregnant with Gabi. I had just found out about Gabi about a month before and I was in Nursing school. One of my fellow students ironically found out just after me the very same thing. We were expecting babies with Down syndrome. Only before I could ever talk to her about it, she aborted and said her husband told her that he would leave her if she had the baby. I think that is totally sad! I am willing to bet that they aren't together anymore anyhow!

HUGS to you, Pam! I hope you stop running into these insensitive people!

summergibbs said...

I can't believe she said that! It breaks my heart because as a mother you love your children no matter what. I can't even imagine aborting a baby just because it wasn't going to be this materialistic world's definition of "normal." I think that Rhett is absolutely wonderful and I love his little spirit! Hang in there and keep trying to educate the ignorant!

Simmons Family: said...

Makes me wonder what world this cashier lives in... Geez!! Unfortunately, I have come across quite a few people that have done multiple ultrasounds and even amnio JUST to make sure their baby doesn't have DOWNS... why is there such a stigma about it. There is nothing wrong with them, they just need a little more love and compassion... but we could ALL benefit from that as well!

You just have to shake off the ignorance of others and you know that you have the most adorable, perfect little man out there!!

Love the TRIKE!!


Tiff said...

I think I would have been inclined to ask her what was wrong with her face?

Patrick said...

I would contact guest services and discuss your experience at TRU.

If you have your receipt you can give that information to guest services so they can find out who you were dealing with at the time. All the receipts are tied back to an employees ID to track fraud and other issues like this one.

You can reach TRU by using the site below or by calling Guest Relations toll-free at 1-800-869-7787

Tami Acord-Nelson said...

You cant reason with idiots. Some people just DO NOT have common sense. The sad thing is, sometimes God throws things at them to learn from, and they still dont get it. Who talks about their sister having an abortion to a total stranger anyway? What a numbskull!
As always, well played, well played.
Much Love

Carey said...

Are you kidding me?!!!! I might have gotten violent there, how do you keep your cool? I'm just shocked, jeesh!!!!!

Well anyhow, good for you on being honest, and wooohoooo on that super cheap trike! Do they have one on clearance with Barbie or Dora?

Barbara Manatee said...

Oh. My. Goodness.

I am way impressed with how you handled that...I'm not sure I would have been as polite or PC as you were. I just cannot believe how ignorant some people are...and even more so - how hurtful that comes across when she says stuff like that!

I recently saw that statistic of 90% of prenatal Dx result in abortion and it took my breath away. It just devastated me! Esp since - as I said in another comment - those tests are not always correct. I don't know how someone could live with themselves after making that choice...

Bless you and Bless Rhett!

Christina said...

I would have asked to talk to her mananger and asked them why they have such jerks on the job. you dont ask people things like that! maybe she should walk a day in your shoes and then she might get it a little. I have had had the pleasure of working at the school in the class that cameron was in and have had the pleasure of helping and teaching 3 little down syndrome children. They are so loving and soooo much fun and i get so irratated with the other kids that stare at the school when they see us walking down the hall, it starts at home. You ought to tell me the Toys r us that you went to and i will go and give her a piece of my mind. Ok i will calm down now. Email me if ya want to talk. Love ya Cousin Christina

Becca said...

OMG. I'm speechless. After 20-some years in retail management, I would NOT have reacted as sweetly as you did. I would have immediately sought out the manager and hung her out to dry. I am impressed with your control. I might actually have hit her. No, I haven't had any of those encounters just yet, but I'm learning that I should arm myself with patience or witty replies for that inevitable day in the future...

Sis Sarah said...

First you punch her out and then ask her what's wrong with her face LOL

Seriously email TRU, tell them exactly what you told us, cause really equating that why didn't you abort your kid is totally sick.

I personally think it should be illegal JMO

Kaden and Angel Ava's mommy said...

I am sorry you had to deal with such an ignorant person. This post brought me to tears. How anyone could think such hurtful things let alone say them about a child breaks my heart. I would not have been able to handle myself as well as you did. I am sure you gave her things to think about. All I can think in my head is how I would have wanted to reach across the counter...I won't finish the rest. I couldn't even imagine being in your shoes at that time. I can't stand it when people stare at Kaden.

When Kaden first came home we had a "family member" ask what was wrong with Kaden's face. I wasn't around, but I am guessing he was talking about how puffy his face was. I asked my husband if he asked him (the family member)what was wrong with his (he is not attractive at all). One other moment that has stuck in my head is a cashier at Wal-Mart said..."oh I feel so sorry for him" I just responded by smiling and telling her she didn't have to.

I can't get over how ignorant that lady at Toys R Us is. It is going to drive me crazy tonight thinking about it. I pray that I can answer ignorant questions as well as you did if I ever have to. Thank you for sharing that story. I do think you should let management know, it is a child's store and evidently she isn't child friendly.

You are one awesome mommy!!!!

Becca said...

Pam, the more I think about this the more it's making me mad and crazy. Sorry, I've been obsessing about this all night. You are going to call the manger/company, aren't you? I mean, we're talking about a store that sells toys to CHILDREN, and it you've got an employee with COMPLETE DISREGARD for a)its customers, b) its paying customers, c)the children who are the lifeblood of the stores existence d)the darned cute little guy that you brought in with you, then that employee really, really, really shouldn't be working there. I know you're too nice to cause someone to lose their job, but SERIOUSLY, she shouldn't be there. And this really isn't an offense that would warrant a slap on the wrist--she could/should definitely lose her job over this. And if the manager you speak to seems to be taking this lightly, you certainly need to take this higher with a well-placed call to the DM then Regional. Chances are that this has been a problem employee for them anyway (sounds like a bad attitude and a low tolerance for kids in general) and this will be the final nail in her employment coffin. Please take this further, Pam. I like Toys R Us, and I would hate for someone like her to be a reflection of my company, if I were a manager/company head for them.

Okay, let me take a deep breath and focus now. Thanks for letting me go off. At least I didn't use any of the colorful words that kept trying to escape out of my head and through my fingers on the keyboard...

Anonymous said...

I have to agree, you do need to call TRU about this. Not only is it bad enough that she said this to a parent, but what if next time she didn't wait until the child was gone?? I'm extremely impressed with ow you handled yourself, you are an amazing mom Pam. I know I never would have been able to be as calm, cool and collected as you were.

Huge Hugs Pam!!

Jamie said...

Seriously, that woman has NO business working at a kids store! You should call up there and explain the conversation you had to the manager. It's unfortunate that people even think that way, but for her to say that to you is completely unacceptable. I would hope that Toys R Us wouldn't tolerate that kind of behavior at all. I would have probably looked at her and asked her what was wrong with her face! Your son is beautiful.

*~*Nikki*~* said...

Hi Pam-this is Nikki Sjoblom, I'm in IHH. I just read this blog and I couldn't believe it! My heart was broken but I was so mad! Rhett is beautiful!!!! He is so special in so many ways and I can't believe that cashier even had the nerve to think it's her place to say anything!

As for aborting a DS child-WHO WOULD DO THAT?! I don't see how a parent could love their child less because they are born different. I'd love my child just that much more-as you love Rhett!

Don't worry about them, you've got an amazing family and their lives are so empty and shallow they have to try to drag people down with them!

Nikki Sjoblom
Mommy to Dade-Pulmonary Stenosis

--Nicki said...

Wow! You are truly amazing. I would have not had the patience to talk to her as you did. At the “What’s wrong with his face” comment I’d have given her a threatening look and asked “Excuse me?” It’s wonderful that you educated her the way you did.

My 15 year old daughter has DS too, and I did get a lot of people stopping me in stores when she was a young’n, not as much now. I never had anyone act as rudely as this woman, thankfully. A lot of people would ask me if she had DS and tell me how sorry they were, to which I would reply “I’m not.” Usually they walked away shocked.

I do agree, if you haven’t already, TRU higher-ups should know about this incident. What she said goes beyond offensive.

What an awesome woman you are!

Nicki (I’m from IHH too, hehe)

Amie said...

What a B#@*!! I had a handful of encounters like that with Brody. I'm usually a very patient and understanding person, but one day as I was setting up Brody's wheelchair and trying to get him into it,this lady was glaring at me. I tried to ignore her but she just kept stepping closer glaring at us. I finally turned to her and told her to F off. Not my finest moment, I'll tell ya that! I admire your strength. I know you don't need anyone to tell you this, but Rhett is absolutely adorable. And these so called "horrible" kids are nothing of the sort. They are amazing individuals with more strength and spirit than most. That girl and her family have some nerve. Their loss! They clearly don't deserve one of these special spirits.

Tommy's mommy said...


Rhett is such a BEAUTIFUL little boy. His amazing self speaks volumes to those that would unfortunately make different choices with their prenatal diagnosis. I just look at him, and my son, and everyone in our community and just wish we could get the positive words out there more.

I will tell you, that I gave up pushing my time and effort into addressing negative comments. Instead, I spend my time telling people what life is like and how great it can be to "give my son a lifetime". I get so much more out of my son, then he will ever get from me.

It's too bad that other families choose not to experience having all of their children. They are missing some of the best moments there family will ever have.

Much love to you from the northwest!

Finding Normal said...

I got asked last week by a student's parent if my daughter is "backwards". I don't know what that means, but it made me cry nonetheless. I've had the "what's wrong with her?!?!" from a Walmart cashier, who I spat NOTHING! at and stalked off. People are so so stupid.

Kate said...

My son doesn't have DS ~ he has spina bifida (and a g-tube & braces & a wheelchair) and during one of our most-recent hospitalizations, I had 2 women tell me (separately) that it was too bad I hadn't found out about my child's disability when he was in-utero so that I could have "done something about it" and that it would have been better if he hadn't been born because his life was so hard.

So yeah, you're not the only one who gets told hideous things by idiots who ought to have their lips sewn shut.

I'm so sorry this happened but I think your responses were really good.

((( hugs )))

Kathy said...

You're one special lady to stay calm in an ugly situation. I don't think I could have, under the same circumstances.

By the way, your little guy is adorable and his personality really shines through in the pictures. All children are special, and some a little more special because they bring so much love into a family. Too bad the insensitive "idiot" will never know that kind of love.

I've enjoyed your blog. You have a beautiful family.