Toddler’s reaction to boy in wheelchair goes viral

Demi P. Garza-Pena shared this photo of her son, Oliver, staring in awe at a Target ad in Peoria because he recognized a boy just like him, she said.

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Demi P. Garza-Pena shared this photo of her son, Oliver, staring in awe at a Target ad in Peoria because he recognized a boy just like him, she said.

PHOENIX – A shopping trip to Target in Peoria, Arizona, a couple of weeks ago was fairly routine for Oliver Garza-Pena, who is nearly 2 years old, and his mom. 

But when the pair entered the boy’s clothing department, something unexpected happened. 

Oliver whipped his wheelchair around to stare in awe at an ad above a clothing rack. In it was a boy like him: smiling while sitting in a wheelchair.

“He couldn’t stop looking at it,” Oliver’s mom, Demi Garza-Pena, told The Arizona Republic, part of the USA TODAY Network, via Facebook. 

“I could immediately see that he knew he had just seen a boy like himself. Something he has never seen before,” she said of the ad. 

Garza-Pena snapped a photo of the moment and shared it on Facebook. She has a page for Oliver called “Ollie’s World.”

The photo was shared more than 33,000 times by Sunday afternoon.

“It made me realize that he needs to see more of this,” Garza-Pena said.

What do models look like? Target, Nordstrom, American Eagle say they look like more of us

Mom hopes inclusiveness expands

During her 18-week ultrasound while pregnant with Oliver, Garza-Pena learned he would be born with Caudal Regression Syndrome, a rare condition that affects the development of the lower spine and organs. 

She started the Facebook page for Oliver to bring awareness to his condition.



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