Jade Small
Jade Small
May 9, 2024 ·  4 min read

What happened when this cruel photo went viral is a lesson for us all

One woman was in her motorized cart, shopping in Walmart. She took a tumble when she tried to reach for something on the shelves.

She fell to the ground, bringing her electric wheelchair with her. Someone happened to be there, at the ready, with their camera in hand. They caught a snap of her in mid-fall. The cruel photo went viral and has been circulating online for at least ten years, with thousands of people laughing at her embarrassing moment.

Cruel Photo Causing a Stirr

Jennifer Knapp Wilkinson was once the point of ridicule when a cruel photo was taken of her in an embarrassing moment. In 2012, she was shopping at one of her favorite stores, Walmart. The thing is, Jennifer, happens to be wheelchair-bound and uses an electric mobility scooter. As she went down the aisles, she spotted something she wanted. Unfortunately, in confined areas, the scooter is not the easiest to maneuver around. So, instead of going backward and forward a few times to get as close to the shelf as possible, she tried to lean over to grab the item.

As Jennifer leaned closer to the shelves, she lost her balance and went tumbling to the ground. Unfortunately, this made her electric wheelchair fall over with her. Now, this may have been less embarrassing had Jennifer been alone at the time she fell. She truly thought she was. However, there happened to be a stranger walking behind her. They had their phone out, and they captured a photo of her at the exact moment she fell.

Cruel photo of Jennifer
Image credit: Quora

Rather than offering Jennifer a helping hand, this person took a photo and posted it to their social media. they added the caption, “Clean up on aisle three, clean up on aisle three.” The photo quickly went viral and became a meme image for all kinds of crude jokes. People flock to the comments section of the cruel photo and comment on all sorts of judgmental statements. They mocked her for being obese, for having to get around in a wheelchair, or for being too lazy to get up and reach for the shelf. They assumed all this because none of the commentators knew who Jennifer was or why she was in a mobility scooter in the first place.

Jennifer’s Explanation

Jennifer decided to give her two cents on the viral cruel photo that was shamefully soaring through everyone’s newsfeeds. She took to Quora to explain why she was in a wheelchair, hoping that it would make people think twice about being so mean to someone they do not know, even if it is over the internet.

Jennifer added some pictures to prove it was her in the wheelchair
Image credit: Quora

According to her post, Jennifer suffers from spondylolisthesis. This is when the vertebra along your spine slips out of place. This can be a minor condition that causes little to no symptoms. But, it can also be severe, and the result some people experience is intense back pain, or leg pain for that matter. For Jennifer, she feels so much pain from her spondylolisthesis that she has to use a wheelchair in certain situations.

According to Jennifer’s explanation, she went out to a grocery shop when the cruel photo was taken. “So this happened several years ago (around 2011- 2012). I was at a very low point in my mental health,” she wrote on Quora. “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 grab 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 used to hearing people make fun of me or saying snide remarks. It was nothing new.

Jennifer and her daughter
Image credit: Quora

Do Not Take Cruel Photos of Disabled People

She concluded the post by saying, “The reason I am sharing this is because people think it is funny to laugh at people with disabilities. 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.”

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  1. What happened when this cruel photo went viral is a lesson for us all.” Newsner. Cassandra Teevan. March 13, 2023.
  2. What was your “15 minutes of fame”? Quora. Jenn