Dad Has The Best Response To Trolls Who Attacked His Daughter With Down Syndrome For Dancing At Soccer Game

Most times people can be really nasty towards children with autism and special needs and that can extend to social media as well.

But one loving and courageous dad from Banbury, Oxfordshire, England, whose Down Syndrome daughter took a lot of abuse from trolls because she danced at a football game.

Neil Markham and his 16-year-old daughter, Ella went to the Trottenham Hotspur Football Club to see their first game in their new stadium.

Although the Spurs lost, but Ella’s spirits weren’t dampened.

As father and daughter walked past a live band she danced out of pure joy, and the dad wanted to share his daughter’s happy moment on social media and so he tweeted the incident.

But his innocent tweet caught the attention of “trolls” who started to poke fun at both Ella and Neil, more on Ella, for the fact she has Down syndrome.

Neil says he showed some of the mean comments to his wife, but not all of them. “She didn’t need to see all of them,” he said.

He was braving himself on how to face those nasty trolls, “The only way I could do is to confront them,” he said.

So he began retweeting the hurtful comments to expose their shallow thinking, but never attacked them. He wanted commenters to see how hurtful those comments were.

“This is the sort of ignorance that I have to put up with from time to time,” he wrote. “My daughter sees the best in everyone even people like this. I’m very proud of her.”

As he began to retweet the comments, some of those comments started to be deleted by those who originally tweeted them and some even falsely said that their accounts had been hacked.

But the silver lining was that among all the hate and ugliness of the comments, some great athletes, including Spurs legend Micky Hazard noticed them and wrote to them.

“Hey Neil your daughter is a beautiful young Lady and that is such a beautiful photo of you both,” he wrote. “Sometimes people are cruel because they don’t see the beauty but the vast majority do.”

Another Spurs great, Graham Rogers, invited Ella to a gala dinner later in May. “I can’t wait to spend a special evening with her,” he wrote.

Ella and her family were contacted by a spokesperson of The Spurs to let Ella know how valued she is by the team.

“We are extremely disappointed to see the reaction by a small minority of people to a social media post by Ella’s father of his daughter at our most recent home game,” the spokesperson said.

He continued, “We will do all we can to identify those responsible for these posts and take the appropriate action. We are in contact with Ella’s family to ensure she realises just how grateful we are for her support and that has been reflected even wider by the overwhelmingly positive support to the video from true football supporters.”

By his actions, Neil has made it clear that he just wants people to treat his daughter as “a normal person who would smile at you and doesn’t deserve to have have fun poked at her.”

We all should learn from Neil how to handle hate on the internet, and to always be kind to people no matter what.

Verse of the Day

Have confidence in your leaders and submit to their authority, because they keep watch over you as those who must give an account. Do this so that their work will be a joy, not a burden, for that would be of no benefit to you. — Hebrews 13:17 (NIV)

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