Oliver Garza-Pena went to Target with his mom for a normal shopping trip – but something stopped him "dead in his tracks," his mother said. Oliver, or "Ollie" as he's called, saw an ad featuring a boy that looked just like himself. The boy was in a wheelchair.
Ollie's mom, Demi Garza-Pena, snapped a photo of her son, staring up at the Target ad, just happy to see representation. "He just stared at it in awe! He recognized another boy like him, smiling and laughing on a display at Target," Garza-Pena wrote on Facebook.
"Oliver sees kids every day, but he never gets to see kids like him," her post continued.
Ollie was born with a rare birth defect called Caudal Regression Syndrome, which impairs development of the lower half of the body, according to the U.S. National Library of Medicine.
His mom wrote that she was happy other kids who pass through Target with their parents will see this ad. "There is a lot of focus on representing diversity, but representing people with disabilities is just as important!"
The photo of Ollie resonated with many people and Garza-Pena's post was shared more than 30,000 times. It even made its way to the boy in the Target ad, Colton Robinson.
Colton is a 10-year-old with spina bifida from Massachusetts who was chosen to be in Target's in-store ad. His mom, Ashley Robinson, saw Garza-Pena's post and was happy her son could make a difference in another child's life.
"Seeing the expression on Oliver's face, looking up to him, it was very touching," Robinson told WGGB-TV. "It was the first time we had seen reaction from someone we don't know. I don't think we've ever thought about other families looking at that and feeling touched."
Colton was also moved by the photo of Ollie. "When I saw it, I felt happy inside," he said, "because I never see that kind of thing with other people in a wheelchair."