I have a crystal clear memory of getting on a train once with my brother when I was about 12 years old - that somewhat awkward stage of growing up where I was old enough to take notice of the world around me but not yet sure how to navigate its challenges.
Sitting opposite us was a middle-aged couple, dressed ready for the day and chatting quietly amongst themselves.
As we moved through the train and took our seats I noticed the couple start to stare at us, intently and with a look of bewilderment and almost disbelief.
Being a typical boisterous pre-teen, I stared back at them, waiting and waiting for their eyes to turn away or at the very least, lose interest in the pair of youngsters innocently riding the train.
But they didn’t and eventually the boisterous side of me couldn’t stand it anymore. In front of everyone in that carriage, with my voice loud and proud I asked, "Didn’t your mother ever teach you it’s rude to stare?" It had the desired effect.
Immediately they both looked away in shame. I was so proud of myself. I had been brave; I had stood up to the bullies, and I had shamed them.
But as I turned to look at my brother to share in the victory, the look on his face made it clear he didn’t share in this so called 'victory'.
His head was down, his eyes downcast, red-faced and full of embarrassment. It was he that felt ashamed because he knew they were staring at him. He knew he looked different, because he was different.
My younger brother Jonathan has Down Syndrome. He’s an adult now, but he’s still my baby brother and my memories of our childhood are peppered with stories like the above.