Kentucky mom Jessie Barber filmed the spontaneous moment in Orlando during a character breakfast at the Crystal Palace in Disney World‘s Magic Kingdom Monday. She and wife Allison had planned the one-week trip for their three adopted children and their 18-month-old son, who has cerebral palsy that stems from a brain injury at birth.
Barber uploaded the video to Facebook on Monday, writing, “For those of you who have disabled children know the feeling when people look but aren’t sure how to interact with your kiddo. This Winnie the Pooh melted my heart and knew exactly what to do! He spent 10+ minutes with our little guy and he loved every second of it. Thank you, Pooh!”
The boy, who Barber declined to name, loves Disney, and while he usually doesn’t do well in stimulating and crowded environments such as theme parks, he was delighted to meet the Disney characters. “We weren’t sure how he would handle the day, but he did amazing — he didn’t pitch a fit at all,” Barber tells Yahoo Lifestyle.
During a meal, Winnie the Pooh walked over to the boy, who was sitting in an adaptive stroller, and started snuggling him, rubbing his nose, stroking his hair and “kissing” his arm and cheek. Barber tells Yahoo Lifestyle that her son functions as a 4- to 6-month-old, and aside from mimicking a few sounds, he communicates through smiles and facial expressions. And, as the video makes evident, he clearly loved the attention.
“Winnie the Pooh hung out for 10 minutes — he wouldn’t let go of our son’s hands,” says Barber. “He really calmed him.”
The next day, the family saw Pooh again, this time at a different park restaurant. “Our son recognized Pooh and started smiling,” says Barber. Later, the mom bought her son a Winnie the Pooh pin to stick to his stroller.
Barber told guests services that the mystery person wearing the Pooh suit made a difference to her family. “We wanted to make sure he or she was recognized.”
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