A Pennsylvania mom is heartbroken after her son’s special trip to the mall to see Santa Claus was ruined when they returned to their car to find a nasty note from a stranger scrawled in lipstick.
Nancy Coyne, a mother of two, told Fox 29 that it happened when she took her terminally ill son, 7-year-old Garrett, to the King of Prussia Mall in early December.
They parked in a disabled parking spot as usual, since the boy’s rare neurodegenerative condition, Batten disease type 1, left him blind.
The mother said that the incurable condition, which often leads to childhood death, makes special outings like trips to see Santa extra meaningful.
Coyne told People that Garrett and her 5-year-old son Palmer both had a great time on their holiday mall trip — until they returned to the parking lot.Nancy Coyne/Facebook
When the mom and the two boys got back to the car, Coyne noticed something had been written in lipstick on the car window.
On the driver’s side, a stranger had written “UR NOT Handicap” in big red letters. And the mother of two had no idea how to explain it to her young sons.
She told People:
Every day is a struggle for us, and to walk out of the mall after our wonderful morning to see lipstick drawn on my car—someone trying to shame me, tell me I am wrong—brought on anger and sadness. How do you explain to a 5-year-old about what happened as you try and hold it together?
Coyne reported the message to the King of Prussia Mall management, who conducted an investigation with local police.
They later managed to identify a suspect who confessed to writing on the mom’s car, reported People, though it’s unclear if they faced any repercussions.
Despite the disheartening situation, Coyne is glad that her son’s story will help raise awareness for his disease. She told People:
This ridiculous act has turned into a wonderful way to spread awareness for Batten disease. And to encourage kindness.
The little boy’s family has started The Grand Batten Fighter, a foundation in honor of their son, since they call him their “fighter.”