I ignored it the first time. I just let it slide by. The guy didn't mean any harm, so why not?

Tiffani and I were sitting in the AT&T store. We were the only customers in the store. My phone died, so I was forced to get a new one. (It's fabulous.)

We were chatting with the AT&T rep as he worked on our new contract. We were talking about how difficult it is to obtain a driver's license in the state of Virginia. "It's retarded!" he said. And I let it slide. "It really is ridiculous" I replied.

Tiffani left, I stayed. It seemed to be taking a really long time, but I had no choice. We continued to talk. He asked about Tiffani (big surprise) and I told him about all of my kids. He was shocked. "You have a 23 year old, a 22 year old and a 3 year old?"

We talked some more, this time about moving to Northern Virginia. How we both had a hard time adjusting to the area at first. He said, "It's crazy around here. Retarded." This time I couldn't stay quiet. "Well," I said, "I wouldn't say retarded, but it was difficult."

He just looked at me.

I decided to get internet service on my new phone. I was surprised when he told me how inexpensive it was. I explained to him that it would come in handy to me. How awesome it would be to check my e-mail while waiting for Lila. After school, during therapy sessions. He looked at me with a puzzled expression. "Therapy? For a 3 year old?" (Interesting how therapy sessions are just a way of life for us yet it all sounds so foreign to others.)

I told him that Lila has Down Syndrome. "What?" he asked. So I told him again. "Down Syndrome". "Oh," he said. "I'm sorry."

I told him what I always say when people say they are sorry. "Don't be. She's awesome!" And I proceeded to tell him about her. I showed him her picture. Again, he looked shocked. "She's cute! Wow. She's really cute."

And then he said, "Good for you! Good for you and your family."

I have to agree. Good for us.




  1. He really was a very nice guy- just a little ignorant... like so many people are.

    Glad he could see how lucky we all are. :)

    Also- I agree about therapy sounding foreign to others. Whenever I talk about Lila going to therapy they all look so confused. PT,OT and Speech are certainly not the first things that pop into many minds.

    Ok. I'm done. Love you!

  2. This happens to me all the time when I tell someone my son has DS. Their first instinct is to offer sympathy. It can sometimes get awkward but you handled it beautifully.

  3. Wow, such a great way to handle it! I like your response to "I'm Sorry"...I always wonder what to say after someone says that so thank you for the idea!

  4. Great job of saying something to him about the R word, whether he got it or not, and whether he made the connection between the R word, Ds, and Lila... I guess you never know if it'll make him think twice next time.

  5. Thanks for sharing - and I loved reading Tiffany's comment. While I hate hearing the R word, I have to remember that ignorance for some is just due to lack of exposure - not a desire to hurt anybody. You handled this beautifully!