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 challenges

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.”