Six-Dollar Shirts And A Smile: Target Ad With Boy In Wheelchair Deeply Affects Toddler Who Looks “Like Him”

Oliver Garza-Pena was taking a trip to Target with his mother when he saw it. The two-year-old, who has caudal regression syndrome and uses a wheelchair, came across an advertisement featuring a boy also using a wheelchair.

“He just stared at it in awe! He recognized another boy like him, smiling and laughing on a display at Target,” his mother Demi Garza-Pena wrote on Oliver’s Facebook page alongside a touching photo of the experience. “Oliver sees kids every day, but he never gets to see kids like him. This was amazing! I am so happy that other kids that pass through here with their parents will see this.” 

Thank you Target! 🎯😀👏 Today Oliver stopped me dead in his tracks and turned back around to see this picture that he...

Posted by Ollie's World on Tuesday, February 4, 2020

“I could see the look on his face—he knew that boy was like him,” Demi also told “Good Morning America.”

The Facebook post has been shared over 30k times and inspired tons of positive reactions—it even reached the boy in the Target ad, 10-year-old Colton Robinson of West Springfield, Massachusetts.

“I was overcome by emotion and started crying,” said Colton’s mom Ashley Robinson. “The expression on Oliver’s face looking up to Colton was extremely touching.”

According to the U.S. National Library of Medicine, caudal regression syndrome—which impairs the lower half of the body’s development—affects 1 to 2.5 of every 100,000 newborns. Many use a wheelchair or other devices for mobility. Children use wheelchairs for a variety of reasons, and it’s important they are represented in media and advertising. This Target poster is a great addition to other inclusive efforts by companies such as American Girl, which featured a model with Down Syndrome in their catalog.

Patricia Grisafi

Written by Patricia Grisafi