By MAMAMIA TEAM
A heartbreaking photograph of a young boy in a wheelchair, who has been physically separated from the rest of his class and is eagerly leaning in towards his peers, is going viral. Fast.
Miles Ambridge, 7, is the adorable boy on the far right, beaming and trying as hard as he can to be a part of the group, who are neatly assembled on three wooden benches without him.
Miles has spinal muscular atrophy, which keeps him confined to a wheelchair but has no affect on his cognitive abilities. And that’s why his parents didn’t want to show him this photo.
Apparently Miles was really excited for picture day but his parents told their local Canadian paper The Province that they thought their son would be deeply hurt if he saw the photo, as he’s “profoundly aware that he’s different than his peers”.
“Look at the angle that he was in. He’s ostracized. He wants to be part of the gang so much,” they told the newspaper.
Miles’ father, Don Ambridge, complained to the school about the photo, who in turn contacted the photography company Lifetouch. Eventually (after the photo making it to the cover of the paper), the company agreed that they had made a mistake and organised to take the photo again.
In a statement, the manager of Lifetouch admitted that the company does in fact teach its photographers to “build the composition of photos differently when they work with people in wheelchairs”, but in this particular instance, that composition “wasn’t done right.”
And what a difference that ‘composition’ can make. Here’s Miles, second from the right (and beaming just as hard), in the new photo:
What. A. Cutie.
He was taken out of his wheelchair and had his caregiver support him on the outer edge of the row. But the most important thing? He got to sit on the wooden benches with all the other kids. Which does beg the question: If Miles is able to be taken out of his chair, and taking the photo this way was an option, why didn’t they just do it this way in the first place?
After the photo was retaken, Don Ambridge told the same paper that he didn’t think outright discrimination against his son was involved, “just a lack of awareness”.
That’s why he and his wife decided to go public with the original photo in the first place.
But for now, it seems Miles hasn’t even realised what a stir his photo has caused around the globe. And his parents wouldn’t have it any other way, his father saying: “For some reason, it makes me feel even worse that he’s so happy in the (first) picture. I think it’s because he’s still innocent… He’s still naive to how other people can treat him.”