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In Society

A boy with one hand met a soccer player with the same limb difference, and the photo went viral

Joseph Tidd meets Orlando Pride soccer player Carson Pickett after a game in June. Photo by COURTESY OF COLLEEN TIDD.

by Marisa Iati
2019, The Washington Post

One-year-old Joseph Tidd and Orlando Pride player Carson Pickett have a lot in common: They both love soccer. They’re both athletic. And they both have partially formed left arms, which they tapped together last month in a photo that’s flying across the internet.

The arm bump happened when Pickett, 25, jogged over to Joseph’s family after hearing them cheer at a home game. She repeatedly tapped her arm against his as he shrieked with glee, said Joseph’s mother, Colleen Tidd, who scrambled to take pictures as her husband held Joseph, decked out in a purple Pride T-shirt.

“In those situations, I want to be in the moment,” Tidd said in an interview Tuesday about the photo that’s gotten a lot of attention. “But then I realized, ‘Well, this is adorable.’”

Joseph spent the whole car ride home from the stadium looking at his arm and giggling, Tidd said, because he knew he had a friend.

Tidd, 28, said she found out when she was pregnant with Joseph that he would be born without one of his hands. She cried at first, but she said that Lucky Fin Project, a nonprofit that celebrates people with limb differences, helped her believe her son would be fine.

At 22 months old, Tidd said, Joseph is much more than fine. He used to be confused when kids would grab his arm, and his older sister would explain that Joseph has a “lucky fin,” like the title character in the movie Finding Nemo.

Now, Joseph introduces himself to the other children. “I’m Joe Joe,” he says. Then he points to his arm and jokes that he bit off his missing hand. His parents don’t know where he came up with that story, Tidd said, but they’re glad he’s taking ownership of his uniqueness.

After the game, Pickett spent half an hour playing with Joseph while Joseph’s father, Miles, compared notes with Pickett’s parents about raising a child who has one hand. Joseph and Pickett played peekaboo by pulling their shirt sleeves over their arms, Tidd said.

“It took a minute for him to realize, ‘Wow, we’ve got the same arms,’ and then he just giggled,” Tidd said. “You could see it hit him, and then they were best friends after that.”

Pickett also inspires Joseph’s sisters, who are 4 and 14 years old, to keep from worrying about their younger brother’s “lucky fin,” Tidd said.

Although people may stare or ask questions, Tidd said Pickett’s self-assuredness gives Joseph’s sisters confidence in their brother.

Human Rights Means to Be Strong! Be Proud!

A high school student says: “I suffer a physical disability. People at my school and in the streets make fun of me. I don’t know what to do. Could you give me some advice?”

SGI President Ikeda: Essentially, you have to become stronger. That, too, is part of the human rights struggle. Having your rights as a human being recognized by others is not just having people behave sympathetically toward you. Be proud of yourself as an individual, regardless of your disability. You must be proud of your mission.

Those who laugh at you and make fun of you are cruel and wrong. They create a terrible burden of negative karma for themselves by ignoring your right to be treated as a human being.

Letting their taunts get to you is a defeat for human rights. Your strength, however, is a victory for human rights. (Discussions on Youth, new edition, p. 131)

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