Andra Oyler was afraid that her son Drew would be disappointed when they attended a Houston, Texas rally for Republican presidential candidate Marco Rubio last week.
Oyler wrote at the Independent Journal that her 39-year-old son Drew, who has Down syndrome, avidly follows politics and likes pro-life Rubio. Last Wednesday, Drew hoped to snap a photo with Rubio at the crowded political rally.
But when Oyler saw the huge crowd, she said she was not sure that her son would get his wish:
When Marco entered the packed room, Drew immediately extended his hand, but Sen. Rubio was facing the opposite side of the pathway. With total confidence Drew said, “Don’t worry mom, I’ll get him on the way out.”
And so we waited. But while we waited, we listened. And what we heard was not the Marco Rubio we’d seen on TV! I was immediately impressed with his demeanor, and what he had to say, how he said it, and the natural way he interacted with the crowd.
As we stood there, I said a little silent prayer, that I could snag him for a picture with Drew, who was hanging on every word. As the speech wound down, and the photographers closed in, I’ll admit, I temporarily lost hope that my son would be able to make eye contact with Rubio. And, even if he did, would Rubio dismiss him without a second thought?
But Drew’s moment came. As Rubio moved to leave, Drew called out, “Marco, I need a picture!” To Oyler’s surprise and joy, Rubio stopped, gave them a smile and leaned in toward her son for a photo.
“It was real,” Oyler wrote. “He was real. And everyone around us witnessed a special moment in time.”
After posting the photo on Twitter, Oyler said Rubio’s campaign re-tweeted it. A few online commenters accused Rubio of exploiting the photo with Drew because he has Down syndrome, but Oyler said she believes the opposite is true. Rubio has a strong pro-life record that indicates that he values every human life, no matter what their abilities.
“We are proud of that picture, and I believe that Marco Rubio is, too,” Oyler wrote. “It’s a highlight of Drew’s life!”