When a cashier made a joke that had the potential to offend a mother and her disabled daughter, he apologized. He also had an insightful conversation with the mother, which meant a lot to her.
Stacey Jackson Gagnon and her three-year-old daughter, Zorey, visited Wal-Mart in 2019, where they were placed in an awkward situation. The duo inquired about the price of a toy, and their cashier responded with an unexpected comment.
He was embarrassed as soon as he realized his mistake. Thankfully, the mother used the encounter as a learning opportunity for the cashier and her online friends.
A young girl with missing limbs [left] A disabled girl smiles for the camera [right] | Photo: instagram.com/staceyjacksong
The cashier told Gagnon that the toy would "cost an arm and a leg." The comment slipped out before he saw that the customer's daughter was disabled and had missing limbs.
He never intended to make fun of her and apologized sincerely as shame covered his face. Gagnon knew the cashier's intention was not to insult them, so she responded with kindness.
AN INSIGHTFUL CONVERSATION
The mother informed him that they often relied on humor to make light of various situations and assured him that they were not offended. As the pair walked out of the shop, they were surprised when the cashier called after them.
Showing genuine care and concern, he asked Gagnon if her daughter's disability made life more challenging. The mother responded: "Nope, she's hard because she's a three-year-old, just like your kids."
SHARING THE ENCOUNTER
Gagnon and the cashier bonded about the challenges of raising "threenagers" and then said their goodbyes. The conversation stayed with the mother, and she felt urged to share it online.
Gagnon thanked the cashier on her Facebook page and used the encounter to educate others on interacting with disabled individuals. She stated:
"It’s okay to say embarrassing things. It’s okay to say something and it not be perfect. But what’s even better, is to continue the conversation and relate to me and my child."
THE ONLINE REACTION
The experience garnered responses from many netizens. One user wrote: "Oh my goodness! I can only imagine that awkward moment for the cashier, but what an awesome growing experience! Love the impact y'all make everywhere you go."
"I love that you didn’t respond with offense. I always consider the intent of a person even if they put their foot in their mouth or use the wrong terms."
ANOTHER DISABLED PERSON TREATED INAPPROPRIATELY
Sadly, not all comments are made with innocent intentions like the Wal-Mart cashier. Due to a lack of awareness and education, a disabled individual became the victim of inappropriate comments last year.
Dianna Slade was shopping at Home Bargains in Merseyside when her neurological disorder caused her hands to shake. She dropped a few items on the floor, and no one offered to help. Instead, a group of employees offended her.
SHARING THEIR STORIES
Referring to Slade, one employee purportedly told his co-workers it was a little early to be drinking. Per Slade, the group giggled and didn't consider the consequences of their joking—she was hurt and overwhelmed by their rude behavior.
Slade decided to share the encounter online to prevent similar incidents in the future. Both Slade and Gagnon's stories revealed the need for more awareness, understanding, and kindness when interacting with disabled people.