On Sunday, I did something that surprised me, surprised my best friend and I think it even surprised my mom at first.
I used what is called a Caroline’s cart while on a trip to Target with my best friend. When Lisa sent the photo below to my mom with the text “My Shopping Buddy” my mom wrote back with an unsurprising response:
From Mom: “I’m surprised she got in it”
Okay, before I give you the story about why I got in a Caroline’s Cart and what my friend and I thought of using them….I think I should maybe give you a little background on the Caroline’s Carts story.
Caroline’s Cart is a shopping cart created for special needs children and adults. It provides parents and caregivers a viable option to transport someone through a store while grocery shopping, without having the impossible task of having to maneuver a wheelchair and a traditional grocery cart at the same time. It is named after Caroline, the special needs daughter of Drew Ann and David Long.
Drew Ann Long saw the need for Caroline’s Cart after realizing her daughter would outgrow a typical shopping cart. Knowing what was needed, she founded Parent Solution Group, LLC, designed the cart, applied for a patent, and enlisted the services of legal and business professionals to help her bring the cart to market.
Her mission was to make Caroline’s Cart available to retailers everywhere, providing a quality product for those with that further enables their participation in mainstream society with their family or friends through the common activity of shopping.
Caroline’s Cart has now become a reality. Retailers such as supermarkets, hypermarkets, shopping centers, and malls offering Caroline’s Carts will provide a valuable service to the families of over 1 million special needs customers in the US.
Drew Ann’s hope is that one day all retailers will provide an equal opportunity shopping experience for parents and caregivers of special needs children and adults by furnishing them the option of a Caroline’s Cart. All families deserve to have this option, so they can enjoy the freedom of shopping with their special needs family member or friend.
Target started rolling these out nationwide about 3 years ago….I’ve done target runs with Lisa numerous times before now. So, why was Sunday my first time in a Caroline’s Cart? No, it wasn’t that my Target was the last Target on earth to get one…it’s that I have what my Theatre Professor and good friend H. Wayne Bowman calls an F.D.R. Complex. I really DO NOT care to have my disability on display. I try my best to keep to my walker or my own set of wheels…giving in at places like Target and using the wheelchair with the shopping basket attachment … I can sit a toddler next to me in the wider version, or driving one of the electric carts while Lisa runs ahead clearing the aisles for the safety of other shoppers. So, what happened this time? The concise version is that there was no wheelchair cart available and she said the electric carts weren’t either. So it was a Caroline’s Cart or nothing, and my legs were about to fall off.
Thanks to the Caroline’s Cart we were able to pick up a new blouse, some cleaning and storage supplies , my mom’s birthday gift and some more English Breakfast Tea for my Keurig. All that and some laughs shared between friends. I felt secure in the high-walled seat even without using the carseat style belts, and it was a really smooth ride. Since I did not go in the dressing room with Lisa and we didn’t need a bathroom stop I can’t say how well the cart works in those two areas of the store
I had done so much in the 72 hours prior to Target that I would have collapsed in exhaustion and tears without the cart. I still have mixed feelings about using something like this but I am SO GLAD it was there for me and I am really glad that it is there for other special needs users.