We’ve all had times in our life when we felt so embarrassed we wished to disappear, but most of us don’t have those moments shared with millions of people on the internet.
Jennifer Wilkinson wasn’t so lucky. About six years ago she went to the grocery store. While she was reaching for a case of soda for her husband, she fell out of her Rascal scooter. As if that wasn’t bad enough, a couple of teenagers snapped a picture of her in distress.
For years people online turned Wilkinson’s misery into a joke, but now she’s sharing her side of the story to make a point about bullying.
Last month, Wilkinson wrote a post online about what she sadly calls her “15 minutes of fame.” In it, she shares details about her life that aren’t captured in the photo.
From a young age, Wilkinson was diagnosed with spondylolisthesis, a back condition where one of the bones in her spine is out of place. This makes it hard to stand or walk, and makes Wilkinson lose her balance easily.
According to Wilkinson, back conditions run in her family, and she was diagnosed before she gained any weight. Her condition, along with a bad case of depression and PTSD, lead her to put on weight.
Despite everything she was going through, Wilkinson was used to being picked on for her appearance. She says that when the teenagers laughed at her and took her picture, she didn’t notice because “I am used to hearing people make fun of me or saying snide remarks. It was nothing new.”
But now, years later, she’s looking back at what she calls a “low point” in her life when people bullied her and reminding everyone to have a heart.
“The reason I am sharing this is because people think it is funny to laugh at people with disabilities,” she wrote.
“So next time you see photos making fun of people just remember you know nothing about these people or the struggles they face every day. It is never just harmless fun to laugh at someone.”
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