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A boy with special needs was having a rough day at Grange Fair. Then this happened

Blake Stoner, an 8-year-old with Down syndrome, celebrates after a successful skee ball game at the Centre County Grange Fair.
Blake Stoner, an 8-year-old with Down syndrome, celebrates after a successful skee ball game at the Centre County Grange Fair. Photo provided

Eight-year-old Blake Stoner of Centre Hall was having a difficult time at the Centre County Grange Fair on Wednesday, with some tears and breakdowns throughout the day.

Because Blake has Down syndrome, it’s not always easy to find the right rides or games for him to play, his mom, Caitlin Stoner, said. He’d been turned away from some rides, was told he was doing games wrong and was the subject of looks and sneers, his mom said.

But when they got to the Bartlebaugh Amusements’ skee ball game and Blake wasn’t able to throw the balls hard enough, an employee told him to just walk up and put the ball in the hole. In a photo that’s been shared more than 130 times on Facebook, Caitlin Stoner captured her son’s reaction.

“He was just so ecstatic because he got the ball in the hole,” she said, adding that the moment changed the day for Blake.

With nearly 500 “likes” on the Facebook post, Stoner said the reaction to the photo took her by surprise. She thought just some family and friends would see it, she said.

“Just proof there is some decent people left out there,” she wrote in the post. “Thank you for putting a huge smile on his face instead of tears on his cheeks!”

Stoner said she hopes people who see the post will remember to be more patient and understanding of children with special needs.

“Even though these kids are special needs, they’re still children,” she said.

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