Caleb has spinal muscular atrophy and uses a wheelchair. His mom, Kari Merriken, told ABC News that other kids at the Chick-fil-a purposefully left Caleb out of their Star Wars play because of his disability.
“I felt like he might have been embarrassed, so I didn’t want to rub salt in the wound, but I had to talk to Caleb about it,” Merriken wrote to ABC News. “I told him that I wanted him to take this experience and let it make him a better person than he already is. He’s such a good kid with a big heart. He is so brave and resilient. Dealing with his disease is not easy, but he doesn’t let it keep him from enjoying life. He keeps a positive outlook and a strong mind.”
What happened next, Kari says, goes down in the annals of “good guy” history. Two Chick-fil-a employees dressed in Star Wars gear would NOT let Caleb be left out of the fun, and invited him to join in a light saber duel with him, making his night.
A grateful Kari took to Facebook to share the good deed, saying:
Every time I come to this Chick-fil-A, I am so impressed. The employees are always friendly and courteous. Galaxy Night was so much fun! On top of it, the employees turned a negative experience around for us. When my son asked some boys in the play area if he could join them, the response was, “no, we’re good.” He asked me to play with him, so I explained the situation to an employee and asked to borrow a light saber so we could duel. I went outside with him, and the next thing I know, the employees had found some worthy opponents who were much cooler (and more skilled with a light saber) than mom.? Thank you Chick-fil-A and characters!
“I was so thankful that their hearts were moved to intervene,” Caleb’s mom told ABC News..“I feel like they re-wrote the message he had just received. It went from ‘You’re not wanted’ to ‘You’re valuable. You matter. We think you’re cool.’ I’m so appreciative of them taking the time to give Caleb that positive message. I feel like it helped restore his confidence.”
She added: “For the rest of us, myself included, I think I would want us to learn that kindness can go a long way to heal hurts.”
I could NOT love this ANY MORE! Way to be real men and show those kids that people with disabilities are just like us! They want, need, and deserve to have fun just like the rest of us, and what’s more? They’re perfectly CAPABLE of doing so.