A parent of a child with a disability gets used to looks. They get used to comments and stares. They get used to strangers speaking their mind.
So when Pam De Almeida sat with her 18-month-old daughter Sophia at her local coffee shop she wasn’t surprised to be started at.
In a Facebook post that has now been read by more than one million people she writes how for some reason that day the staring bothered her.
Pam, a photographer in Ontario Canada writes:
“Two ladies sitting near us started to stare and whisper. This is a pretty frequent occurrence for us you see; because my daughter Sophia was born with Down Syndrome. I sat there and watched these two women crane their necks to get a better look at her; completely oblivious to the fact that I was staring right back. Today it bothered me. It really bothered me.”
She thought the man was coming over to stare at her daughter. Via Facebook/ Slice of Life.
The mother of two girls, who blogs about her daughters at Slice of Life wrote that when the women moved on she was frustrated that a man and another woman then began to approach her.
“I thought, “Oh great! More people who want to take a closer look!”
She says she was taken aback by the man who instead of smiling compassionately or saying something inappropriate greeted her daughter with a “high five and a handshake.”
Her daughter smiled and waved back.
Pam and Sophia. Via Facebook/ Slice of Life.
She writes: “He looked at me with tears in his eyes and said, “I have a story I would really like to share with you. But I am afraid I wont get through it without choking up.” I gently encouraged him to share, because now I was curious. This interaction was not what I was expecting.”
She goes on: “He told me that he had watched the news last night. There was an interview of a mother who had recently given birth to a child with a major disability. She was on the news defending her decision to keep her baby.”