Brad Cowell is fed up of having to deal with people making “snide” comments about his disability.
The 22-year-old graphic designer, from Merthyr Tydfil in Wales, has cerebal palsy and has been in a wheelchair his entire life.
And while he doesn’t normally let his disability bring him down, a recent comment from a troll on Tinder has inspired him to speak out, in the hopes that others don’t have to face this kind of abuse.
On Wednesday evening, Brad was having a quiet night in at home, playing Xbox with his friend Chris.
Between games, the pair were also swiping through Tinder.
The two were having a good time – until a message on the dating app spoiled their fun.
A young woman had responded to a photo on Chris’ profile, which showed him hanging out with a group of mates – including Brad.
But instead of sending a chat up line, this stranger had sent a cruel remark about Brad’s wheelchair.
She wrote: “I hope your wheels fall off”.
Confused, Chris asked: “What wheels?”
The woman replied: “Haha your friend’s disabled.”
Chris showed the messages to Brad, who decided to share them on Twitter.
He posted screenshots of the conversation, writing: “Not normally one to tweet about something like this but I’m getting a bit sick of people thinking they can get away with it.
“Some girl messaged one of the boys on Tinder saying this.”
His tweet quickly went viral, garnering over 71,000 likes and thousands of retweets.
Speaking to MirrorOnline, Brad admitted he’d experienced lots of unpleasant and unprovoked comments like this before.
“You hear snide remarks, sense people looking at you,” he said. “It’s not a very nice feeling, but I don’t normally say anything as they get defensive.
“I’m sick of having to deal with it. I didn’t say anything to this girl.
“My disability doesn’t bring me down, but this kind of comment could really hurt someone else if they heard it, they might not have the same confidence I have.
“There’s nothing worse than when you build up confidence and someone comes along and shuts you down.”
He added that he was grateful to everyone who had shared his tweet and posted kind replies.
“I’m glad it’s had a good response, hopefully it means people in a worse situation than me can see that there are people out there that support them.”
Do you have a story to share? We want to hear about it. Email us at firstname.lastname@example.org