A follow-up that warms our hearts!
After posting the following photo of 7-year-old Miles Ambridge earlier this week, the image went viral.
Miles, who has spinal muscular atrophy, is seen isolated in his wheelchair to the group’s left, straining his body to get closer to his classmates.
The heartbreaking class photo made world headlines, with his mom saying, “Look at the angle that he was in. He’s ostracized. He wants to be part of the gang so much.”
After the public outcry – with many saying Miles was discriminated against due to his physical disability – the photo company agreed to take a re-shoot.
This time, Miles is seen sitting on the bench with his classmates, minus his wheelchair, with a huge grin on his face.
“You can’t pick him out this time,” his overjoyed mother Anne Belanger tells The Province. “For him, to fit in, this is what it should be.”
Unfortunately, the new photograph is being criticized as “sending the wrong message” because it shows Miles out of his wheelchair.
But Miles’ proud mom disagrees.
“All you’ve got to do is look at the kid sitting on the bench with a grin on his face and that’s why we do it,” she said. “He’s a happy little guy.”
“I’m not on a warpath,” added the Candian mom. “I just want to bring awareness that this was not acceptable.”
Miles’ dad, Don Ambridge, goes on to say they don’t want to point fingers, but rather raise awareness for people with disabilities.
“Discrimination to me implies malice,” he said. “This was just a lack of awareness.”
“It’s wrong, but it doesn’t mean it was intentional,” he added of the original photo. “It just means that somebody dropped the ball for a moment and that can be incredibly hurtful.”
Miles was never shown the original class photo, but his parents have kept a copy in case he wants to see it in the future.
And when they showed their sweet son the new class photo, he responded, ”Oh, mommy, that’s so nice!”