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The Nice Girl’s Response to a Viral Post

Every blogger secretly (or not so secretly) dreams of the day she gets a viral post.

I blog for The Mighty, and some of my posts have gotten a fair amount of attention, and a few have been reposted on various other pages.  The primary readers of The Mighty and the pages that pick up their posts are people with disabilities and illnesses, so when one of my Mighty posts gets attention it’s all about validation and love. I could move into that space and make a cozy little home where my introverted self could soak up the online attention in solitude for hours.

But I ventured out of my comfort zone, and wrote and “open letter” on my HuffPost blog.  I’ll let you read it for yourself.

Back now? Good.

As you can tell, I took the time to process the situation and write about it from an understanding and fun perspective, rather than a soapbox.  This was a deliberate choice because I am a nice girl.   

So as my piece for HuffPost made it’s way across the interweb, I turned on notifications, and became ever so slightly obsessive about checking them.  I might have clicked on every new comment for an embarrassing amount of time. 

But I was jarred back to reality and brutally reminded some people aren’t nice. 

Some people responded only to the title, clearly not reading the piece. Others read the piece just mining that one line they could claim righteous indignation over, and though I was intentional to leave those out, when people want them, they find them.

So, I decided to be helpful and reword things in a way they could really understand.  You know, because the whole reason I wrote the post in the first place was to engender understanding.  But there are some people who just want to be awful, no matter how hard you try to communicate clearly, using an engaging tone, and friendly terms. 

You see, some people don’t want to be nice. Really.

Maybe I am naive, maybe just hopelessly idealistic, but I really want to live in a world where people at least try to be nice. 

I turned off my notifications and went out and puttered around in my garden. There’s a pretty significant part of me that would like to hole up and just let the world go to hell in a hand basket.  But instead I will fix my mind on the people who received my offering and reciprocated in kind.  


I will write my heart out to them. I will write my heart out for my kids and for families like ours.  I will write and hope that others will join me and share their voices, whether it’s by writing or singing or making art or in any way being a source of peace and light in a chaotic world. Because if enough lights come together the darkness cannot survive. 

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7 thoughts on “The Nice Girl’s Response to a Viral Post

  1. I normally really do not like Open Letters. They seem to be showing up everywhere, and they tend to be preachy and self-important. I usually pass them by. But I’m glad I clicked the link on the open letter you wrote at the Huffington Post. I think in the vast majority of cases, the disabled parking placards are legitimately obtained and used. But there have been a couple of times I saw someone getting out of a car and thought, hmmm, that seems a little fishy. I don’t think it ever occurred to me that it could have been for a child or dependent. It should have, that’s for sure. Safe to say I’ll be a little less quick to cynicism next time. Thanks again for writing it. (and not getting preachy)

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    1. I didn’t even realize you could get a disabled parking pass for a child. Honestly it never occurred to me. That being said it makes sense and I can see how it would be easy for someone to misjudge. I did Crack a smile at the combo of running stickers with the disabled plackard. Without any knowledge of the situation those together is funny. I very much appreciated your open letter. I learned something new.

      Liked by 1 person

    2. Just read the Huff Post article on you and your awesome son Ben. I love your blog and can’t wait to pass it on to work friends and parents, I teach in all ages special needs school. Our parents frequently just need someone who gets it. Also just wanted to drop a quick mention about Caroline’s Cart, your local Target and grocery stores typically will order them. They are great for older kids and adults who need to ride in the cart.
      http://www.carolinescart.com

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  2. I really love this! I recently started following you after a friend shared your open letter post on Facebook. I too have a handicapped placard (for my husband), so your open letter spoke volumes to me.

    I’ve gotten the squinty-eyed dirty looks from strangers as I step out of my van. And then I open up the back end, the ramp falls down, and I back out my husband in his wheelchair. So many times I’ve wanted to stop people and say exactly what you wrote.

    I’m a nice girl too, and like you really, really want to live in a world where others want to be nice as well.

    Thank you for your words, and for sharing your experiences.

    Kristen

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  3. I loved your open letter post. When I was in high school, I drove around my Granny quite often, and she came with a handicap placard – so I am familiar with the looks an able-bodied person gets when parking in those spots. I think you did a great job explaining this with grace and compassion! (And smart move stepping away from the comments!!)

    I’m actually the editorial assistant for ToSaveALife.com, an inspirational site from Outreach, Inc., and I would love to re-publish your post on To Save a Life with full credit to you as author if you will give permission. We’ll use a headshot and bio of you as well as link back to the original (and social links for your bio, too!). Let me know what you think and if you have any questions for me. Have a good day!

    Mary Carver
    Editorial Assistant
    Consumer Sites, Outreach, Inc.
    mcarver@outreach.com

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  4. Hi.
    I’m not that person who took the pic, but I could have been in his shoes (after 30 years of being me, I still can’t believe how goofy I can be sometimes.) So many people are “invading” these parking spaces, and in some cases it’s so easy to get a fake one, it drives over-sensitive-and-not-thinking-straight people like myself crazy. When I read your very kind letter, I wanted to just find your blog and apologize on behalf of that boy, who probably did not mean any harm (I hope). I’m sorry for all the stupid things we do. We try hard to be better people, we crave for it; and we learn, especially from kind people like you. Also we need more people like you to teach us how to talk to Autistic kids, how to approach a disabled adult for help, how to support a mom who is trying to handle a tantrum.. I’ve never thought that it could have been the kids who needed these parking spaces until I’ve read your post. Thank you for teaching something ❤

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