I have been having a wonderful time going on dates with amazing guys from places far and wide, sharing incredible experiences, and seeing blessings in people’s lives and little miracles through The Mormon Bachelorette. I received a suggestion that I turn the tables and that I should take out a certain well-known Bachelor from Gilbert. I was intrigued and decided I was game for the date.
I showed up on David Johnson’s doorstep, excited to have fun with a guy who I’d been told had great enthusiasm for life. I was also told that he would likely be calling me his girlfriend by the end of the night…confident guy! What I didn’t know in advance was that David is a skilled drummer – but I was let in on this secret shortly after meeting him. I requested a performance and he was kind to oblige. I had also found out in advance that David’s favorite restaurant was a teppanyaki place called Ah-So, and that he loved bowling (I like to do my research!). I wanted to plan something he would enjoy and I was excited to share the evening with him.
David is 27 and has Down Syndrome. David does have some limitations through his disability such as difficulty hearing sometimes, and I couldn’t always understand exactly what he said at first. But I learned a long time ago that disabilities are not an inherent handicap. We are only handicapped when we allow a disability to limit us. Every one of us has disabilities; it’s just that some are more visible than others. David does not allow his disability to limit or handicap him. He has a job, he plays drums, he’s a great bowler, etc. David is full of life, he trusts people, he loves people, and he knows how to make people laugh. David lights up any room that he walks into. He’s just pure. I think that people with mental disabilities are actually spared some of the worries of the world. They don’t seem to be distracted by the negative, or the evil things that exist in society. At least I know that was the case with David. He just saw everything with optimism. I was so impressed.
My favorite part of the date was probably our dance session in my car. I tell you what, that David Johnson has some serious moves and totally showed me up! We just jammed out and laughed. Dinner at Ah-So was great as well, when we were able to talk and enjoy the show they put on while making our food. Our chef, “Ninja Dave” really played off of David’s energy and we had a fabulous time.
At the end of the night, David presented me with a bowling pin from the lane. What a sweet momento that I can keep to remember our date. David was just awesome. Truly one of the best guys I’ve ever met. I felt extremely privileged to meet him.
The great experiences from the evening weren’t quite done yet. I was able to talk with David’s mom, Gina, for awhile after I brought David home. Gina is a wonderful woman, mother of 7 and founder of Sharing Down Syndrome Arizona. Her foundation helps parents of children with Down Syndrome to face their real emotions and feelings, and then look to the future with optimism. Talking with Gina was truly life changing. I was just so touched by her perspective on life and willingness to help others through what can feel like an insurmountable problem. She felt that way when she had David, she was sad and upset, but she learned what a wonderful blessing David is and she helps share that message with other families.
I have experienced some major ups and downs through this process, but this was a high that I am incredibly grateful for.
**Special thanks to Annie Johnson for doing my hair tonight. I wanted to look my very best for David and so I wore one of my favorite shirts, and got all done up. No holding back on this one. Annie helped me feel very pretty.