“Galaxy Night” at a Chick-fil-A in Columbus, GA turned into an epic battle against bullying when two employees came to the rescue of a little boy in a wheelchair.
While, yes, there were lightsabers involved, too, the real fight was turning a negative experience into a positive one. Earlier this month, mom Kari Merriken thought it would be fun to take her 8-year-old son, Caleb, to a Star Wars-themed event at their local Chick-fil-A. Unfortunately, however, the afternoon turned somber when Caleb, who has spinal muscular atrophy, was excluded from playing with the other kids.
As Merriken’s Facebook post recalls, “When my son asked some boys in the play area if he could join them, the response was, ‘no, we’re good.’”
While the exchange was disheartening for both Caleb and his mom, Merriken decided to make it into a teachable moment.
“I felt like he might have been embarrassed, so I didn’t want to rub salt in the wound, but I had to talk to Caleb about it. I told him that I wanted him to take this experience and let it make him a better person than he already is,” Merriken told ABC News. “He’s such a good kid with a big heart. He is so brave and resilient. Dealing with his disease is not easy, but he doesn’t let it keep him from enjoying life. He keeps a positive outlook and a strong mind.”
Props to this mom for rising above a tricky situation, but as if that wasn’t enough, two of the Chick-fil-A employees decided to step in as well.
Hearing of the interaction from Caleb’s mom, two employees emerged into the play area dressed as Darth Vader and a Jedi and challenged Caleb to a lightsaber duel. Overjoyed, Merricken captured a picture of the battle and shared it to Chick-fil-A’s Facebook page, where it has since gone viral with 1.6K likes.
As Merricken put it, Caleb was able to play with “some worthy opponents who were much cooler,” and ended up having a good time at the event.
“I was so thankful that their hearts were moved to intervene,” Merriken said to ABC News. “I feel like they re-wrote the message he had just received. It went from ‘You’re not wanted’ to ‘You’re valuable. You matter. We think you’re cool.’ I’m so appreciative of them taking the time to give Caleb that positive message. I feel like it helped restore his confidence.”
I certainty hope so! I mean, if you battled Darth Vader, there isn’t much you can’t handle now, Caleb.
h/t: ABC News