Recently, Dustin Daughtry was eating lunch with co-workers when one of them started talking about a Halloween party he'd attended. He said, "My brother came to the party and had the best costume. He went as a RETARD! Oh man, it was hilarious!"
Dustin was taken aback. His daughter, Raegan, has Down syndrome, and he couldn't believe that he was hearing adults use the word "retard." Did they not know that the word is considered hate speech?
Rather than stay silent, Dustin made a move. He pulled up a photo of Raegan on his phone and placed it on the table. Then, he shocked the men with a proclamation of his own.
"This is my little girl, Raegan...She has Down syndrome," Dustin announced. "I'm just wondering, is she what a retard looks like, to you?"
Of course, the man tried to backpedal and say that wasn't what he meant, but it was too late. No doubt, everyone who was at that lunch table will think twice before using that hurtful word again.
The next day, Dustin's wife, Shannon, shared what had happened on Facebook. She wrote, "There are so many words in the dictionary that you can use in place of the 'R' word. Please, for Raegan's sake, consider using a different one."
Immediately, support began to pour in, with many people sharing photos of their own. This mom said, "I remember all of the nurses telling me that he didn't look like he had Down syndrome, but I knew in my heart he did and I accepted it, he was beautiful to me no matter what he looked like."
Ashley Doyle wrote, "This is me. I have multiple medical problems. I hate the 'R' word. The doctors tried to label me with it when I was a baby and my mom about had a cow with them. They quickly changed their minds."
This woman shared a photo of her daughter, Bella, and said, "She is no different than any other kid, she laughs, plays, cry, feels so why is there still people out there calling a child with Down syndrome 'different'?"
One of the best points came from Tracey Smith, who said, "This is my brother and his two friends. He doesn't understand the R word...but we as a family do...people need educating."