Adrianna Kleckley McCullar will not have anyone disrespecting her brother. But, she did live this old adage in her post: "Forgive them, father, for they know not what they do."
McCullar, of Lexington, said the incident happened to her brother, Reuben, after his Night to Shine prom on Feb. 9 at their church Mt. Horeb United Methodist in Lexington. This Night to Shine event was held by Mt Horeb UMC and the Harvest Church in Lexington.
The post says that a girl saw Reuben, 33, and started mocking him. McCullar then claims the girl got her friends to join in.
"Since you didn’t take into account that he is an individual just like you are, let me take this opportunity to teach you a few things about him," she says at the beginning of her post.
Dear Clueless Teenage Girl,
When you came in the restaurant tonight I’m sure you didn’t plan to be a bully. You probably didn’t even realize at first that the man you were picking on had Special Needs, but when you did and you still encouraged your friends to turn around and join you in staring & laughing at him - you became one. The man you mocked tonight is my brother, Reuben.
Since you didn’t take into account that he is an individual just like you are, let me take this opportunity to teach you a few things about him...
1) My brother LOVES to laugh- and other than baseball, it is his favorite past time. It is not unusual for him to become interested in other people who are doing what he enjoys- laughing. For this, I am grateful because he didn’t even realize you were making fun of him. He sat and smiled his handsome smile and paid your behavior no attention whatsoever.
2) Reuben is pretty much a self-declared local celebrity. Everywhere we go, he’s waving a smiling - folks go out of their way to greet him. This is not because he is rich or has a lot of followers on Instagram. It’s because he spreads happiness and joy wherever he goes and people love him for it. Had you taken the time, I feel certain you would’ve seen this too.
3) The crown he was wearing tonight was from Tim Tebow’s Night to Shine Prom. And while it may not mean anything to you, the crown reminded me of his sister that Reuben is celebrated & valued by an army of people. These same people see past a label & a disability, into the heart of who he IS- a child of God.
So my dear girl, the point of my story is this- I am going to pray for you tonight.
I am going to pray that one day your heart is touched by someone with Special Needs. I am going to pray that if you become a parent, you won’t ever have to sit & listen to a doctor or specialist tell you all of the things your child won’t be able to do because of a diagnosis or disability. But mostly, I am going to pray that you heard me when I said, “Don’t worry Rube, she just doesn’t realize how awesome you are”.
Because you don’t, you are going to miss out on a lot of fantastic people with an attitude like that.
Regardless, I am going to sleep tonight grateful that I got to boogie down with some awesome dancers, moved that so many in our community of Lexington made such an event possible and blessed that we are currently watching Home Alone 2 for the 14th millionth time with The World’s Coolest Brother.
My hope is that someone shares this post so that somewhere out there, an adult will have an educated conversation with their child, sibling, niece, nephew or friend about accepting & understanding those with Special Needs. I think if you could ask every person who attended tonight’s Prom- they’d be able to share something interesting they learned about their buddy tonight.
We all have more in common than you might think.
#NightToShine #2018JoyProm #KingForADay
The post has been shared more than 26,000 times since it was posted on Feb. 10 and received overwhelming support and praise.
"Most of the people I have heard from were moved by the post because they have a loved one with special needs and have experienced something similar," McCullar said.
One commenter said: "I hope the mean girls are not natives of Lexington County. I like to think we have better people than that around here. It is only by God's grace that they don't have some type of impairment.......oh, wait, they do."
Another post visitor said: "Beautifully said. I hope this girl soon realizes what she is missing when she limits herself to getting to know 'normal people.' Those with challenges have made my life so much better and taught me so much about love. I wouldn't trade my special friends for anything."
"In today’s society it’s very easy to get stuck in a negative event," McCullar said. "I just wanted to try to turn a few minutes of negative into much more that were positive by educating others about the special needs world. It’s a beautiful place to be!"
The Night to Shine, an event put on by the Tim Tebow Foundation, hosts the event across the county with 540 churches. According to their website, more than 90,000 guests and 175,000 volunteers helped make the dance a success for everyone involved.
In the end, McCullar said the response from the post is exactly what she wanted.
"The purpose of what I wrote was to explain to others (who maybe don’t know someone like Reuben) that individuals with special needs are just like us- they want to be loved and respected," McCullar said. "The best thing about the post is that families are talking about it and it’s bringing much-needed awareness to what many kids, adults, and families of those with special needs face on a regular basis."
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