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Demi Garza-Pena - Ollie's World / Facebook

Demi Garza-Pena and her son, two-year-old Oliver Garza-Pena, thought they were on a typical shopping trip at Target.

But when they passed through the boys' clothing section and saw a special ad, designed specifically for children like Oliver, they knew it was a special kind of day.


Garza-Pena was passing through the boys' clothing when she realized Oliver had stopped behind her to look at something.

She turned around and saw him looking up at an advertisement of another little boy, not much older than him, also using a wheelchair. Oliver looked utterly awestruck and would not break his gaze from the advertisement.

Garza-Pena took a moment to take a picture while Oliver was still looking up at the advertisement. The moment was not staged or practiced; it was a natural and beautiful reaction to the power equal representation can have.

Garza-Pena reflected:

"I could see the look on his face, he knew that boy was like him."

After they had returned home, Garza-Pena shared the photograph, along with a special thank-you note to Target, to the Facebook page she runs for her son, called "Ollie's World."

The post quickly gained traction, many in love with Oliver's genuine expression, and others reacting to Garza-Pena's resounding hashtag choice, "Representation Matters."

Ollie's World / Facebook


Ollie's World / Facebook


Ollie's World / Facebook


Ollie's World / Facebook


Ollie's World / Facebook

The post was shared so far and wide, it actually reached the mother of the boy in the Target advertisement, Ashley Robinson. Her son in the ad is ten-year-old Colton Robinson in Massachusetts.

Ollie's World / Facebook

Robinson shared her reaction to seeing Oliver's photo for the first time:

"I was overcome by emotion and started crying. The expression on Oliver's face looking up to Colton was extremely touching."

The two moms have since connected on social media and have stayed in touch. Though their sons have different disabilities, Oliver with Caudal Regression Syndrome and Colton with Spina Bifida, the women have discovered their days look very similar, and they share many of the same challenges.

Both women agree equal representation needs to continue to be pursued across media advertisements, and that this moment between Oliver and Colton is the perfect example as to why.

Garza-Pena said:

"We want companies to jump on board for more inclusive advertising. These photos need to be everywhere all the time. People with disabilities need more representation in the community."

Robinson agreed, citing Oliver's reaction:

"Children of all abilities and sizes need to be represented. I mean, who doesn't want to look at an ad and see someone that you have something in common with? It's important for everyone to feel included. It's just a beautiful thing."

Though we're a long way away from seeing equal representation everywhere, in all media forms, it's important to see moments in the media like Colton's.

And perhaps it's even more important to see, for children like Oliver, how Colton's inclusion is really making a difference.

Clint Patterson/Unsplash

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