A couple of weeks ago, Anne Belanger of New Westminster, British Columbia, was heartbroken to see her son's second grade class picture. Seven-year-old Miles Ambridge was smiling brightly, sitting in his wheelchair, off to the side of his class. Miles has spinal muscular atrophy, which does not affect his cognitive abilities, but prevents him from walking. The stigma of being different from the other kids was bad enough without being pushed off to the side in a photo that will last forever. Miles' parents asked the photo company to reshoot the picture, and posted the image to the photo company's website, from which it went viral.
Belanger thinks it was Miles’s smile in the photo that struck a chord with so many.
“He’s just so happy,” she said. “And that’s the thing — he’s oblivious to the whole thing but he’s so happy and he wants to fit in.”
Last week, Lifetouch Canada admitted its photographer made a mistake and said it had already retaken the photo.
Lifetouch said it trains its photographers to arrange students differently when working with a child in a wheelchair. In this case, the composition “wasn’t done right,” said territory manager Dean Cochrane.
In the new picture, Miles appears with his group just like any child.