NASHVILLE, TN (WSMV) - An eighth grader at Friendship Christian School in Lebanon approached the state legislature with a challenge. He said he'd only need them to take part for a day, and what they'd learn would be a lesson for life.
“I have found if I don’t know as many people, it makes it a lot easier," smiled 14-year-old Alex Johnson, sitting in the middle of hallway ahead of a speech to lawmakers.
Alex was there to represent others with a story like his and bring it to the people who can help.
“When I was very little, I could walk at first," he said. "The disease I have is skeletal dysplasia. It effects the growth of your joints and your bones.”
Alex said he's moved with a wheelchair since about the second grade.
He challenged state representatives to move with a wheelchair for a day. Representatives from both sides of the aisle took part in Alex's challenge Tuesday.
"I have no experience with a wheelchair," said state Rep. Clark Boyd. R-Lebanon. "Even in a building that is handicap accessible, still you bump into doors. You bump into walls. Some of the doors become very heavy for someone in a wheelchair. Opening a refrigerator door, doors seem to be a pretty big challenge."
That was Alex's goal, to have the reps see those challenges and see the need to bring the world more wheelchair accessibility.
“They can influence things," he said. "They can help people achieve more independence.”
"I could talk to you for hours and hours about the difficulties people in wheelchairs face on a daily basis," Alex said, speaking to a group of lawmakers. "Until you actually sit in a chair, you'll never fully understand. Together, we can change the world one challenge at a time."