|Photo Description: Several people crossing at an intersection, including a young man with a disability.|
Then the light changed.
We surged forward. I was rolling fairly slowly because I was behind people I couldn't get around, and I wasn't in a hurry so didn't try. Beside me was the little girl. She was hopping from one thick white line to the next. It's a game that both Ruby and Sadie play sometimes. She was having fun. She continued to be beside me.
Then her mom, who had been talking animatedly to her dad, noticed.
I heard her being called away from me. These are the exact words used to call her away, "Get away from that man in the wheelchair." The little girl looked back at her mother, she smiled and waved to show that everything was fine. And indeed everything was fine, she was no where near my wheels and in absolutely no danger. She continued on with her game.
We were nearing the other side when her mother came and angrily grabbed her arm and pulled her forward and up on to the curb. "I said, stay way from those kind of people, stay away!' The grab, the pull and the anger in the words startled and frightened the little girl. She looked back at me now, the smile gone. The warmth in her eyes had been turned ice cold.
This is how prejudice and hatred begins.