‘Stopped dead in his tracks:’ Arizona toddler in awe when he saw inclusive Target ad with boy in wheelchair

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PEORIA, Ariz. — For kids with disabilities, fitting in can be difficult, so an Arizona mother wanted to share a major win that brought a smile to the face of her son, who uses a wheelchair.

Little Oliver was on a Target run with his mom when an advertisement caught his eye.

“He stopped his wheelchair dead in his tracks and looked up,” said Demi Garza-Pena.

He was in awe after he saw a little boy in a wheelchair, just like him. Oliver relies on his wheelchair to get around because he was born with a rare condition called caudal regression syndrome. It affects his lower spine and organs.

“It was just a beautiful moment to see — him admiring somebody like him — because he doesn’t get to see that often,” said Garza-Pena.

Garza-Pena took to Facebook to share the moment that brought her to tears, and to celebrate Target’s inclusivity. The post quickly went viral.

“To see that kind of backing, and see that support, not only for Ollie but just the things Target’s been doing…” said Luca Bakemeier, Target store director.

Target launched the more inclusive ads in 2017, mainly in apparel, and refreshes them regularly, with the next batch coming later in February.

Garza-Pena said she hopes other stores will follow Target’s lead.

“Everywhere….everybody, everywhere, all the time,” said Garza-Pena. “That would make a huge difference.”

Until then, Garza-Pena said she’s grateful for Target’s efforts, saying it’s a moment most parents like her dream of.

“To see their kids that included…. we don’t get that often,” said Garza-Pena.

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