GoTo Shop Trolley Dash
Not because of her behaviour or risk of grabbing things off of shelves (although she’s cottoning on to that one), but because now she is six she just doesn’t fit into the shopping trolley seats anymore.
If in the past I managed to get her into one easily enough, the reverse move at the end of our shopping trip proved much more difficult.
Her feet would hook onto the horizontal bar and we’d caught up in a mild tug of war whilst I grappled with releasing each foot at the same time as lifting her out with the other arm.
That should have been reason enough to quit, but it was something that happened inside the store which saw the end to us using the ‘ordinary’ shopping trolley.
We were minding our own business, wandering through the more ‘fun’ clothing section when we were approached by a family (three kids and a mum).
The smallest child, a girl about three years old barked out a loud laugh and pointed at Lucy repeatedly shouting “Baby, LOOOOOK, Baby!!!”
The other children turned to us and all laughed, the mother looked amused and didn’t tell off her child or apologise to us and to my horror I saw an expression on Lucy’s face that I’d never seen before.
There sat my lovely, brave little profoundly disabled girl looking awkward and upset.
I hated that brat of a child for pointing to Lucy and making fun of us, but hated myself even more for not saying anything to the parent.
We left the shop quickly and I broke down in tears once back in our car.
I vowed to never let that happen again and be better prepared with an answer the next time we were singled out, the trouble is you never know when that will be.
A year or so on and I heard that Firefly were holding a campaign to sign up all major UK supermarkets to get their GoTo Shop Trolleys.
So I emailed them, I spread the word on social media and encouraged other local special needs mums to do the same.
To my delight Tesco chose my local store to be one of only three in the country to trial the new trolley with an accessible seat.
Then, to my shock, Lucy and I were invited to launch the trial in our store!
The day of the trial arrived and as we entered Tesco, we were greeted by a group of smiling faces and ushered into a cordoned off area in the cafe where they had coffee and cakes waiting as well as two huge balloons and a present for Lucy (it was the day after her 6th birthday).
We then tried the trolley around the store whilst a photographer from the local newspaper took dozens of pictures.
The trolley was easier to push than I thought it would be and I quickly learned a way of turning it around without needing a 20 point turn.
We got attention from the other shoppers, lots of eyes were on us, but for the first time in that store I was pleased about this as we were showing off a new trolley that is going to help so many families.
People have suggested to me that I could just shop online instead, or go when Lucy is at school.
All true, but Lucy is part of her community too, why shouldn’t I be able to take my child shopping, to experience everyday life and maybe even one day help me choose things off of the shelf?
I’m so grateful to Firefly for inventing practical solutions to everyday problems faced by families with disabled children.
Perhaps this will bring us closer to a day when people don’t point and laugh at disabled people or at least realise that it’s just not OK to do this.
To support the GoTo Shop Trolley Campaign you can download and print a leaflet to hand in to your local store.