It was meant to be a beautiful moment for her. After all she had endured, this was a moment of triumph, a chance for her to be celebrated.
As she reached the middle of the dance floor, her prom king walked out to her, and her smile lit up the room. Then the DJ chose his song. As the opening line rang out, there was an audible gasp of anger from the crowd.
While times and traditional norms are certainly changing, many teen girls still dream of being prom queen.
Between choosing the dress, spending a magical night with friends, and the crowning moment, the appeal has never really died for some. Sarah Mendenhall of Texas was no different. However, her prom went very differently than she might have imagined.
While there is still a long way to go, most people won’t argue with the fact that many archaic attitudes are now changing. The world is slowly becoming more inclusive to communities that were far more marginalized in the past.
Consequently, we now see a far more diverse range of people enjoying ordinary things that others may take for granted. A prime example is the story of Erin Condrin.
Erin Condrin had more anxiety about her high school dance than most girls. In addition to the usual teenage angst, Erin was also disabled. This meant she had to rely on her faithful support dog, Lacey, to assist her with basic tasks.
The fact that people like Erin are more accepted and celebrated for overcoming their disabilities and not letting it keep them from enjoying their lives is proof of the changing attitudes in society. There are many others like her.
You’d have to go far and wide to find a 16-year-old girl more excited for her prom than Maggie was. Her beaming smile said it all when she was photographed in a specially made pink, black, and purple dress.
She also faced a problematic disability that made it far harder to enjoy everyday activities. People like her and Erin living their best lives despite the challenges stand as role models for many others.
Sarah Mendenhall faced her own challenges. Being in a wheelchair meant she would not have the ability to walk out onto to dance floor, be escorted arm in arm by her date, or dance in the traditional sense.
Despite this, she looked radiant and was as thrilled to be there as any other girl. Far from blending into the background, Sarah’s night would take center stage.
As expected, Sarah’s prom was filled with the usual pomp and glitz for which proms have become renowned. Her friends were all there, and the night had been going great so far.
The fun, laughter, and music made for a fun-filled night. As the night wore on, anticipation began building.
As with most proms, the most exciting part of the night was the big reveal of who the king and queen were. There were many hopefuls, but there could be only one queen for the night.
When the announcement was made, the crowd was ecstatic. Sarah had been crowned queen. Being in a wheelchair, it was a touching moment when she made her way to the center of the dancefloor and awaited her king.
Sarah’s disability made the moment an inspirational one, and she was cheered on by everyone watching. Her beaming smile was fitting of her crown, and she was clearly excited about the moment.
As the pair moved toward each other, everyone’s attention turned to the DJ in anticipation of the first dance. The crowd immediately became outraged when he began playing the song that Sarah and her partner were to dance to.
TikTok user Celeste Orozco, who has also identified herself as Sarah’s best friend, uploaded a video of the shocking moment to the popular social media app.
The video has since gone viral and reached more than 17 million views within a week. The outrage that followed made for a wide variety of comments about the DJ.
“I’d quit right then and their man”, “I doubt that was the DJ’s intention. And most likely this song was picked prior to announcing the winner,” someone TikTok users opined.
Others took a humorous approach with comments like, “The DJ was slipped a $20 to play that by the girl who came in second place,” another TikTok user joked. So what was the song he played to cause all this controversy?
The hit love song Thinking Out Loud by Ed Sheeran is a favorite among many people and is well known as a beautiful and romantic song to dance to. Seems like a good choice so far, right?
However, given that Sarah was in a wheelchair, the opening lyrics were seen as highly insensitive and inappropriate. The reason is that the song’s opening line is, “When your legs don’t work like they used to before.”
It has not yet been confirmed if the DJ in question meant for all the controversy to ensue. People’s shock and outrage against him are likely warranted if he did. On the other hand, if he was simply absentminded when he chose the song, this could be described as negligent at best.
However, while many people were angered for Sarah on her behalf, fo, no one seemed to care what she thought of the whole fiasco.
Sarah Mendenhall had shown herself to be a remarkable young girl. When she broke her silence over the controversy of the DJ’s song choice, people were again amazed by her.
After millions of people had become enraged for her, many expected her to feel the same way. After all, the moment had shifted attention away from her big moment. However, her reaction was the opposite.
When she commented on the video, she confirmed that she found the DJ’s song choice “…really funny and ironic. I didn’t know what was playing until way after cause I was tryna dance. Meanwhile, Celeste later confirmed that they “had a great prom night and a good laugh about it the next day.” What are your thoughts on the song? Was the DJ insensitive or just a funny guy?
In order to protect the privacy of those depicted, some names, locations, and identifying characteristics have been changed and are products of the author’s imagination. Any resemblances to actual events or places or persons, living or dead, are entirely coincidental.