A 12-year-old boy suffering from an extreme case of cerebral palsy was kicked out of a Donald Trump rally in Tampa on Saturday, but then everything turned around when he met President Obama less than 24 hours later.
Twelve-year-old J.J. Holmes was afraid of what Trump’s America would mean to those who suffered from disabilities as he does. So, he asked his mother to take him to the rally to protest the Republican candidate’s treatment of disabled Americans.
When the two arrived to the rally, J.J. bravely held up a Hillary Clinton placard.
Immediately, the crowd took notice and began chanting, “U-S-A, U-S-A,” while Trump pointed to security and had them escorted out.
“As Secret Service escorted J.J., his mother and two sisters, Trump supporters shouted obscenities and even kicked his wheelchair,” described Valentina Pereda, Florida Press Secretary for Hillary Clinton, in a lengthy Facebook post.
A reporter who witnessed the event called Pereda and explained to her how the ejection unfolded. Horrified, Pereda then pulled some strings and got J.J. and his mother into President Obama’s rally the following day in Kissimee.
With the help of a White House staffer, Pereda arranged a quick meeting between J.J. and Obama. The meeting was short, yet momentous enough to cause a smile to almost burst out of J.J.’s face.
— Valentina Pereda (@ValentinaPereda) November 6, 2016
Obama and J.J. smiled and posed for a photo that has since been shared more than 1,600 times on Facebook.