Embarrassed Mom Has Powerful Message For Internet Bullies Who Mocked Her Fall

by Laura Caseley
Laura is a writer, illustrator, and artist living in New York City.

Jennifer Knapp Wilkinson was shopping in her local Walmart one day when she lost her balance, slipped, and had to grab onto the shelves to catch herself.

She’s also a wheelchair user, so righting herself was even harder.

She managed to get out of the situation without much injury, even though no one was around. Or at least, that’s what she thought.

It turns out, there was someone there to witness her fall, but they didn’t come to her aid or even ask if she was alright.

Instead, they snapped a photo of Jennifer then uploaded it to the internet, where people came out of the woodwork to ridicule the obese woman falling out of her wheelchair.

They called her fat, they called her lazy, and they made fun of her predicament. The internet can be a great place, but it’s also notorious for people being nasty for no reason, especially to women who don’t conform to often impossible beauty standards, including new mothers.

Of course, they didn’t know anything about Jennifer — that she’s a full-time mom, lives with multiple health issues, and loves to crochet. And they didn’t know the most important thing about her: that she can stand up for herself.

Many people might have tried to ignore it or pretend it never happened, but Jennifer decided to take a stand. She was tired of the abuse and derision her weight and her disability drew.

Even if it meant bringing that embarrassing photo back into the public eye.

“The reason I am sharing this is because people think it is funny to laugh at people with disabilities,” she explains.

“You can not see my disabilities but they are there and they are real. So next time you see photos making fun of people just remember you know nothing about these people or the struggles they face every day. It is never just harmless fun to laugh at someone.”

[H/T: Metro]

Walmart entrance

Jennifer Knapp Wilkinson was shopping in Walmart when she took a spill.

Soon a photo of her falling was making the rounds on the internet, and the trolls were having a field day.

Instead of ignoring it, though, Jennifer responded.

Woman falls in Walmart

She wrote:

The worst thing about this photo is that people think a fat woman tipped over a cart because she was too lazy to get out of the cart to get the case of soda.

X-ray and diagram of vertebra slipped forward

I have a condition in my spine called spondylolisthesis.

In spondylolisthesis, one of the bones in your spine — called a vertebra — slips forward and out of place.

This may occur anywhere along the spine, but is most common in the lower back (lumbar spine). In some people, this causes no symptoms at all.

Others may have back and leg pain that ranges from mild to severe.

The most common symptoms in the legs include a feeling of vague weakness associated with prolonged standing or walking.

In my case, the longer I stand the more numb and weak my leg become. I have been known to fall because of this condition.

Jennifer Knapp Wilkinson and daughter

So this happened several years ago (around 2011- 2012). I was at a very low point in my mental health.

I also was experiencing a lot of pain and weakness that day. I took a cart because I was grocery shopping for my family.

I went to get a case of soda for my husband (He drinks this stuff by the gallons) and I turn and tried to grasp a case off the shelf and the cart tipped.

I thought I saw a flash of light and heard some young girls giggling.

I thought nothing of it cause I am use to hearing people make fun of me or saying snide remarks.

It was nothing new.

Jennifer and husband

Jennifer also wrote about her issues with mental illness, which she says drive her to binge eat for comfort. She’s still struggling with her weight, but is attempting to lose some.

My main point in this answer is I did not choose to be photographed at a low point in my life.

“The fact that people assume I am fat because I am lazy is false. Or they assume I am fat because I want to be on disability.

Obese people are treated as less than human and as something to ridicule. I just want people to be aware that fat people are people too.

Selfie Jennifer Knapp Wilkinson

I also am not asking people to pity or feel sorry for me.

What I want is compassion, understanding, and respect as a fellow human being.

I am a person, please treat me like one!

The world can be a cruel place, but luckily, there are people like Jennifer ready to take it on and remind us that being kind and compassionate to others is really what we should be doing!

Please SHARE if you’re sick of bullies!