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For parents of kids with special needs, Target's newest shopping cart is a game-changer.

"This simple cart literally will change how we can shop." — A very happy parent.

For parents of kids with special needs, Target's newest shopping cart is a game-changer.

Everyone's favorite I-ran-in-to-buy-two-things-but-I-bought-all-the-things (because I needed them, of course!!!) store inspires love in many of our hearts.

Yesterday, Target inspired a little extra love by announcing a new shopping cart model. That's right. A cart.

This isn't your average shopping cart, though. Nope. This is just a little bit extra thoughtful.


It's called Caroline's Cart and it's designed for children and adults with disabilities.

Caroline's Cart, coming soon to a Target near you. Photo provided by Target, used with permission.

It gives parents and caregivers of individuals who are unable to walk on their own the ability to shop without having to push both a cart and a wheelchair simultaneously. The cart was designed by Drew Ann Long after she realized her daughter Caroline, who has special needs, would soon outgrow the kids' section in a traditional shopping cart, at which point she'd be left to juggle a wheelchair and a cart.

Long saw the need and knew that it was one shared by many families. She called the design Caroline's Cart, named after her daughter, and embarked on the journey of patenting, manufacturing, and getting the carts into retail stores.

The way Target became aware of Caroline's Cart is pretty cool. A Target employee who is a parent of a child with special needs brought it to the attention of the store operations team. And so commenced a wonderful journey...

Target began testing Caroline's Cart in select locations a year ago. The response was delightful.

It made many people happy, like mom Brianne Fuller and her son, who happened upon one in January.

Photo of Brianne Fuller's son, provided by Target and used with permission.

Fuller wrote:

"Shout out to the team at your Brighton, MI Target store for ordering a Caroline’s Cart. It made our evening shopping trip a breeze. . . and my son LOVES it! Please consider getting one for all of your stores, thank you!"

Adam Standiford, the dad of a 6-year-old with special needs, felt equally thrilled when he discovered a Caroline's Cart in November 2015. He posted a note to the company's Facebook page that received over 124,000 Likes and 13,000 shares:

"Dear Target,

I can't express enough how happy my wife was to see this at our local Target today. We have a 6 year old handicap girl who either doesn't fit in carts anymore or gets weird looks to as why she's sitting in the basket and can't walk like a normal child. This simple cart literally will change how we can shop, not having to worry as to how we are going to get her into a store. Every retailer in the country should follow suit! It is also quite ironic that my wife's name is Carolyn and the cart is called Caroline's cart. I will forever be Target loyal!

Sincerely,
Every parent of a special needs kid"




Feedback like that surely gave the retailer the encouragement it needed to bring these carts to all of its customers.

On March 15, 2016, Target will introduce Caroline's Carts to almost all of its retail stores.


"The vast majority of our stores (with the exception of a handful of our smallest stores where we don’t have full-size carts) will have at least one Caroline’s Cart, and many will have more, depending on their guests’ needs," the company shared on it corporate website.

I salute you, Target, because this is truly a case of listening to the needs of your customers (or guests, as you call them) and taking steps to make their shopping experiences easier and more enjoyable.

It may look like a pretty ordinary cart...

Photo provided by Target, used with permission.

...but for the families who will use it, it's extraordinary.

Photo by Tim Mossholder on Unsplash
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