We were in a grocery store in the States and suddenly noticed that the woman bagging our groceries had Down Syndrome. Equally we noticed that the mother behind us had a daughter of maybe 6 with Down Syndrome with her. The little girls eyes latched on to the grocery bagger with intensity. The mother, seeing an opportunity, said, 'See, it's nice that she has a job and that she goes to work.' I was impressed. Parenting that had a child notice, parenting the commented on the simple truth of work, of worth and of inclusion. God knows what message that kid will get from the 'hopeless harpies' that fill our society with lies and untruths about the lives of people with disabilities.
When we were through, we had a lot of stuff, I pushed myself around and out of the way and waited for Joe to drop off some stuff and come back and help me with the stuff in my arms. As the mom and daughter went through, Mom chatted with the bag girl who was friendly and very polite. She commented on how beautiful the little girl was and that 'she's going to be a heart breaker'. Mom asked, 'Have you broken hearts yourself.' Pause. 'Well, Timmies.'
The little girl worked up and asked a question, 'Do you like your job?' The bagger thought for a minute, taking a little girls question seriously. 'No, not really, but the people are nice,' she said. Completely honest.
If I had a statuette tucked away in my wheelchair bag for 'best on the spot parenting' I'd have whipped it out. The little girl might hear the myths of a society that sees no value in those with disabilities but she will know the truth - people with disabilities work, love and carp about their jobs. Just like, pretty much, everyone else.