- Disabilities & the Disabled
Handicap and Parking - The Lack of Respect
I have never cared about trying to take the handicap spaces provided for parking since there are many legitimate people who need them. However, due to a recent accident and my confinement to a wheelchair, I have a new respect for those spaces.
I spent a month watching my husband try to maneuver our vehicle into spaces large enough to allow the wheelchair to come alongside for me. The poor guy did this in the dead of winter through snow, sleet and rain. I'll admit...he's a GREAT husband, and never complained. My doctor's nurse suggested I apply for a temporary handicap tag to make life easier for both of us.
What a wonderful idea! So, after making the necessary trips to complete forms, I was approved and my husbands' life was made so much easier.
But, now is when I really see the disrespectful attitudes that exist in the world for the handicapped.
We've all seen them - let's take a look at a few examples.
- The "babies on board" sign in the back window. Sorry...last time I heard parenthood was not a real handicap, however, we all know some out there where this may be true. To this extent, neither is pregnancy! Women walked across the plains of this country pregnant...they didn't consider themselves 'handicapped'.
- The "I drive a big car that needs two parking spaces and the handicap one is bigger!". Sorry. Get a smaller car. It's more economical too! Paying too much for an oversized vehicle is not a legitimate handicap!
- The "I drive a huge Dodge with dual-tires that sits 3 feet off the ground and I'm borrowing my parents handicap tag because I don't want to walk across the lot." Aw...come on now....get real. This is one that I see all too often....even before I REALLY started paying attention to them! BABY!
- The "I just don't want to walk too far...I'm lazy." This one also includes those who might be considerably overweight as well. Walking will probably do you good...it's called EXERCISE...something you probably need.
The Last Straw - TODAY!
So finally, today, even though I have progressed from my wheelchair to a cane for very short walking, my husband was attempting to pull into a parking space that he had waited for patiently. As our vehicle was extending into the outer drive lane, he decided to pull forward to allow other traffic to pass, and was going to back into the space. With signals on, he waited.
Seeing that most the other drivers' were not paying attention to him backing, I suggested that I would get out and help him get safely in the spot by alerting the drivers behind. This worked fine...for a moment.
Suddenly, a small red car with NO HANDICAP PLATES or HANGTAG, pulls between me and my husband and gets within 4 inches of my cane verbally threatening to run over me if I don't move. I advised them that it was a handicap space and he was backing in. They gave me several finger signs, ran up on the curb to beat him into the space, forcing me to almost fall getting away from their car.
While my husband was angry, I was angrier! I went into the store, and reported the violation and their attempt at running me down. The only thing I was told was "we can call the police, but they don't usually come for that!"
Can you imagine this happening!? How horrid. The four people in the car, got out laughing and trotted into the store with no cares in the world! They should have at least lost their membership at this extremely large wholesaler!
I have worked in retail most of my life, so am very familiar with the attitudes that exist in most parking lots. I have never been one to be upset at someone swiping my space, parking too close or all the other things people do to be nasty in parking lots.
But when people do it to people who need the handicap space, especially knowing they are in the process of parking there, it's totally different. This is completely disrespectful.
I think that the authorities should completely enforce these spaces, and that part of the punishment should be their confinement to a wheelchair for a week and try to find parking when dealing with people like themselves!
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