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Heartbreaking Story Behind 'Joke' Photo Revealed

| by Sean Kelly

A woman who was the subject of a viral meme spoke out about the horrible ridicule she was subjected to and the heartbreaking reason behind the photo.

Jennifer Knapp Wilkinson spoke out four years after a photo surfaced of her falling off of a motorized scooter in a Walmart.

"It is never just harmless fun to laugh at someone," she told the Daily Mail, adding that she first saw the photo when her sister happened upon it and asked if it was her. 

Wilkinson, a 39-year-old Missouri mother, suffers from a spinal condition as well as obesity, anxiety, ADHD and PTSD.

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"The worst thing about this photo is that people think a fat woman tipped over a cart because she was too lazy to get out of the cart to get the case of soda," she wrote in a piece for Quora. 

In her piece, Wilkinson detailed the severity of her spine condition, called spondylolisthesis.

"In spondylolisthesis, one of the bones in your spine — called a vertebra — slips forward and out of place. This may occur anywhere along the spine, but is most common in the lower back (lumbar spine)," she wrote. 

"In some people, this causes no symptoms at all. Others may have back and leg pain that ranges from mild to severe. The most common symptoms in the legs include a feeling of vague weakness associated with prolonged standing or walking. In my case, the longer I stand the more numb and weak my leg become. I have been known to fall because of this condition."

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When the photo was taken, she said, she was at a "very low point" in her mental health. 

"I took a cart because I was grocery shopping for my family. I went to get a case of soda for my husband (He drinks this stuff by the gallons) and I turn and tried to [grab] a case off the shelf and the cart tipped," she wrote. "I thought I saw a flash of light and heard some young girls giggling. I thought nothing of it cause I am [used] to hearing people make fun of me or saying snide remarks. It was nothing new."

It was several months later that she saw the photo on a website that made fun of people at Walmart. 

"I have also seen this photo attached to stories that aren't even true about this situation. The only thing I am glad about is it did not capture my face," she said.

Wilkinson said her thought process behind coming forward was to address the seriousness of the fact that people often laugh at those with disabilities. 

"You can not see my disabilities but they are there and they are real. So next time you see photos making fun of people just remember you know nothing about these people or the struggles they face everyday."

Sources: Daily Mail, Quora / Photo credit: Daily Mail 

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