Toddler’s reaction to Target ad of boy in wheelchair goes viral

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.”

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

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.

Garza-Pena said the attention the photo of Oliver received made her realize she could be part of making his world more inclusive.

“Seeing the post being talked about all over the world has given me hope,” she said. “I hope the conversation continues.”

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