A little boy named Oliver has people crying happy tears after a photo of him looking at an inclusive Target ad featuring another young boy in a wheelchair went viral. Arizona mom Demi Porter Garza-Pena and her son, who is nearly 2 years old, were visiting their local Target recently when the ad caught her little boy's eye and left him in "awe."
"Today Oliver stopped me dead in his tracks and turned back around to see this picture that he spotted!" Garza-Pena wrote on Facebook. "He just stared at it in awe! He recognized another boy like him, smiling and laughing on a display at Target."
"Oliver sees kids every day, but he never gets to see kids like him," she wrote. "This was amazing! I am so happy that other kids that pass through here with their parents, will see this!" she wrote. "There is a lot of focus on representing diversity, but representing people with disabilities is just as important!"
Garza-Pena tells Romper that Oliver, who has a rare condition called Caudal Regression Syndrome that impairs development of the lower half of the body, really understood the significance of the poster featuring a little boy also in a wheelchair. "I explained to Oliver that the boy also used a chair just like him and he smiled so big," she says. "It was a moment every parent dreams of for their kids, to feel included in that way. When I show him pictures of that day he gets very excited."
Not only has the ad for the Target brand of clothing Cat and Jack, which has created an adaptive line of clothing designed for children in wheelchairs, resonated with Oliver, but his sweet reaction has touched with thousands of people across social media. More than 24,000 of whom shared Garza-Pena's Facebook post. What's more, the post also managed to reach the mother of the little boy in the ad, who commented that "this picture has me in tears!"
This 2-year-old's reaction to seeing another boy in a wheelchair smiling, joyful, at ease, is perhaps the most powerful reminder of the importance of inclusion in advertising. As Garza-Pena put it, "People with disabilities need more representation in the community."