STEUBENVILLE, Ohio (WTRF) — From shelf to shelf, and aisle to aisle, a big box store shopping trip is an experience unto itself.
With food to electronics, the selection and the prices cater to anything you could need in your home.
But it’s a simple pleasure that’s often unavailable to special needs children and their parents.
With traditional carts only having seats for small children, a quick family shopping trip can become an event with pre-planning required.
“I have a son and it is very difficult to push the wheelchair and bring the cart with me. And he likes to go to the store. He likes to look around. He’s very social.”Mindy Aleksiejczyk, Requested Caroline’s Cart at Steubenville Walmart
So when the Steubenville Walmart announced back-to-school shopping sensory hours in July—Melinda Aleksiejczyk saw the opportunity to help special needs parents make summer shopping a snap.
She messaged them a picture of a Caroline’s Cart, a buggy created by Drew Ann Long for her special needs daughter Caroline.
Containing a larger front-facing seat and a brake, Walmart took her request to heart.
It’s now available at Walmart for anyone to use and turn errands into family fun.
“I can easily put him in it and we can go shopping and he can look around and be safe. And it can be an activity that we do together without worry.”Mindy Aleksiejczyk, Requested Caroline’s Cart at Steubenville Walmart
As a member of the Jefferson County Board of Developmental Disabilities, she says caregivers for special needs individuals are often afraid to request the resources their loved one needs.
But with such a major company responding so quickly to just one Facebook message—it’s a lesson to not be afraid in asking for access.
“We need to, as a community, continue to include individuals with disabilities and their families and make sure that they’re out in the public being seen and enjoying life because they are worth enjoying life.”Mindy Aleksiejczyk, Requested Caroline’s Cart at Steubenville Walmart
Because even just one extra cart can mean one more adventure waiting to be discovered.