Earlier today I was sent an article from CBC about a young woman in Halifax who has received ridiculous notes on her car because she had the nerve to walk away from her vehicle which was parked in a handicap designated parking space. Even though Natasha Hope-Simpson has a valid handicap parking permit which is clearly displayed in her windshield, she had the audacity to use her mobility to the best of her ability without even thinking about how that could affect strangers in a parking lot. How completely inconsiderate of her, right?

WRONG!

We need to have a very frank discussion about this, world. Because this is just unacceptable.

It seriously blows my mind that there can be people out there who take time out of their busy day to leave notes like this on the windshield of someone with a COMPLETELY VISIBLE HANDICAP PARKING PERMIT:

http://www.cbc.ca/news/canada/nova-scotia/natasha-hope-simpson-prosthetic-leg-user-gets-note-saying-she-should-be-ashamed-1.3027677?fb_action_ids=10152942763254775&fb_action_types=og.shares

P.S. Natasha walks with the aid of a prosthetic leg because she lost her left leg below the knee during a hit and run accident. But you didn’t need to know that, because her parking permit says she has a disability and it shouldn’t concern you what that disability is.

Chances are every single person in North America knows a family member or friend who has an invisible disability. If you know someone with a disease like Multiple Sclerosis, lupus, arthritis, fibromyalgia or chronic fatigue syndrome (just to name a few) then you know someone with an invisible disability. If you know someone with back problems or a lung disease then you know someone with an invisible disability. If you know someone with a brain injury then you know someone with an invisible disability. You’re starting to get the point, right? I can go on all day. And if you don’t personally know someone affected by an invisible disability then congratulations, but you certainly know someone who knows someone. The point I’m trying to get at is this: everyone should be aware that invisible disabilities exist. It should just be common sense at this point. People should understand the notion of invisible disabilities enough to think twice before leaving harassing notes like that on someone’s car.

You don’t know the person who just walked away from that handicap parking spot. You have absolutely no idea what they are going through. You have no clue what a complete triumph it probably is for them to be able to walk away from that vehicle. It could be something they worked very hard to achieve. It could be the most painful thing in the world for them. But it is in no way your right to know that. They don’t have to explain themselves to you. No one should have to use a mobility aid just because it’s what you expect of them. No one should expect anything more from someone than a bit of common decency in this sort of situation. If you see a handicap parking permit displayed in their car, accept that they have every right to use that spot. Quit being so quick to judge. Go back to minding your own business.

If this is still a difficult concept for you to grasp, perhaps this chart that I just made with my fancy photoshop skills will help you in your future struggles to understand simple human rights.

disabilitychartI might sound bitter, and it’s only because I am. I just want to live in a world where people who have disabilities don’t have to worry about this kind of crap. I don’t think that’s asking too much.

If you genuinely don’t know anything about invisible disabilities then please do humankind a solid and educate yourself by checking out some of the following links:

http://invisibleillnessweek.com/
http://www.everydayhealth.com/pain-management/invisible-illness-when-others-cant-see-your-pain.aspx
http://www.butyoudontlooksick.com/

Thanks.

9 Comments on Read this if you have ever questioned someone’s right to that handicap parking space

  1. Lelainia
    April 11, 2015 at 12:08 am (5 years ago)

    Summer Mortimor was freshly back from the Paralympics having won MULTIPLE medals for swimming.She goes to the mall & parks in an accessible parking spot. as she gets out & heads to the mall entrance a number of seniors give her flack for parking with a permit in the spot she has a right to. She shattered both her heels in a trampoline accident, disabling her & qualifying her both for her permit and as someone who could compete for Canada in the Paralympics. People have their weird notion that accessible parking=either someone in a wheelchair or old people. It’s bizarre.

    Reply
  2. Donna
    April 11, 2015 at 5:22 am (5 years ago)

    Well said! I don’t know why people feel like they need someone to justify their use of disable parking. It’s utterly ridiculous!! I remember seeing a sketch by Michael McIntyre once and he talked about disable parking. I believe he says something along the lines of “what is is we are looking for? The car door to open and for someone to fall out a minute later?” People can be such dicks. To me, if I see someone in a disabled spot and they get out of the car and walk I think “good on them”. Why can’t we be happy for people? Why is it always so much negativity? I get that often there is an over abundance of disabled parking in some places and but really if you have to park far away remember this: you have two working legs and you can cope with walking that distance. Be grateful for that!

    Reply
  3. Devri
    April 11, 2015 at 3:49 pm (5 years ago)

    Wow. unfortunately I have also dealt with this. Someone yelled at me through the window while they were walking past my car and said, “Hey! You know you parked in a handicapped spot, right?”

    Reply
  4. Jack
    April 11, 2015 at 10:27 pm (5 years ago)

    Here is where you are wrong, people with disabilities do have to worry about this crap. It’s pretty much a given fact that handicap parking placards are frequently abused and fraudulently used. So much so that it is becoming problematic for those who require handicap parking in order to access goods and services. And by require I mean absolutely need the features provided by handicap parking, like the access aisle area to load/unload a power wheelchair from a ramp or lift.

    People in this “required” category do not have the luxury of simply parking in another location and toughing it out. They have to, need to, must use a handicap space.

    I too wish people with disabilities did not have to worry about this crap. But until people stop abusing the handicap parking system those who truly need it will continue to worry.

    Reply
    • damselinadress
      April 12, 2015 at 12:16 am (5 years ago)

      I completely agree that people can abuse the system and wish that wasn’t the case, but I certainly don’t think just because someone may have an invisible disability versus needing a wheelchair they shouldn’t be able to qualify for a handicap parking permit. I don’t think anyone with an invisible disability that actually doesn’t need the accessibility should get a permit. I have lupus and I have complications from the disease that make it very hard for me to walk very far some days, but I still don’t have a handicap parking permit because I personally don’t think I need one right now. But some people with invisible disabilities certainly do need that spot. In my city a handicap parking permit also doesn’t always mean being able to park one spot closer in a parking lot, it means the difference between getting to park on the same block as a building versus having to park 6 blocks away (which can make a huge difference for someone who has trouble walking long distances). I understand that people with wheelchairs who need that space to get out of their vehicles should have access to these spots, but I don’t think that means people with invisible disabilities shouldn’t get access to the same service.

      Reply
      • Jack
        April 12, 2015 at 4:12 pm (5 years ago)

        I am in complete agreement that anyone that truly meets the eligibility requirements for disabled parking should be allowed to get it regardless of what their disability looks like.

        That said, lets talk about the eligibility requirements. I have yet to ever see a requirement that uses “sometimes” or “long distances”. Everyone I have ever looked at in the states contain words like “cannot” or “severely limited”. With most always having “cannot walk 200 feet without rest”. Halifax, Nova Scotia has the distance at 50 meters. 50 meters or 200 feet is a very short distance, not even the length of a single city block.

        And the sad truth is the vast majority of current handicap permit users that can walk without a mobility aid walk farther than 200 feet.

        In closing, yes people with invisible disabilities should have access to handicap spots but only if they meet the 200 feet or 50 meter eligibility requirement.

        Reply
        • Ruby the Rocket
          May 11, 2015 at 8:17 am (5 years ago)

          Could I get a source on that fact?

          Also, that being said, even if a person CAN walk farther without 200 feet, can they walk 200 feet plus the distance it takes to a) get around the store should they choose to not use a mobility aid or b) to the mobility aids?

          THAT being said, even if they CAN walk farther, should they have to if it is painful? A person who has a prosthetic might be able to walk longer distances, it doesn’t mean they should have to get blisters and stump pain every time they pop out for a carton of milk.

          Here’s an idea: If you’re not handicapped, how about you just mind your own business?

          Reply
  5. Kerry
    April 12, 2015 at 8:24 pm (5 years ago)

    I don’t know what’s worse: an invisible disability or a visible one.
    I have both.
    I know some visually impaired people who have applied for a handicap parking spot. People would say that’s silly, or would they?
    I wouldn’t go through all the trouble of applying, but there has been some argument on it.
    That’s just life. There are grey areas and then the system does get exploited.
    That ruins it for people who really need it.
    I have trouble walking sometimes and pain, it’s harder to find a building through a huge parking lot, but I don’t have a pass.
    Anyone who would go through the trouble of writing a note really, in my opinion, does need to get more of a life. People are seriously lacking empathy and compassion these days. Where did it go or was it ever in existence at all?

    Reply
  6. SkippyMom
    April 23, 2015 at 1:45 am (5 years ago)

    t have the invisible diseases too – except on those days when my legs swell so much [Congestive Heart Failure] that I have to use my wheelchair.

    I do appreciate both sides of those in wheelchairs vs those with invisible diseases -as i experience both. I have my placard and identification card proving it is my right to use it because my disabilities are permanent. They will never be cured and will only get worse until I die. For a cherry on top I am waiting on an organ transplant not related to my heart. GO ME.

    The bottom line is – it’s water off a duck’s back to me if someone sees me upright, walking away from my vehicle. People have lost all sense of understanding and as the person above said empathy and compassion.

    If I am fortunate enough not to have to use my chair and the spot available is the only one that accommodates wheelchairs I still have to take it. Believe me I don’t want to, but I am absolutely terrified of falling into another car and I need to open my door fully to be able to drag myself out of the car.

    I was diagnosed with CHF over 6 years ago and my current doctor who is now involved in my other conditions too, was shocked to learn that I had never asked for a placard because of the permanency of my conditions and the pain and fatigue i experience. I had waited 5 1/2 years to ask [and actually my husband did] No one wants a disability tag, as no one wishes to be disabled.

    And my opinion on those who abuse it – by using other’s placards or hoping they don’t get caught? Life is too short – – yes it is terribly frustrating and unfair, but I am just so damn thankful to be able to get out of the house on a “good day” and hope I last long enough to finish helping my husband grocery shop or take a quick roll around the Dollar store. in the past two months I have been out of the house 4 times, two of those I simply sat in the car and waited on my daughter to pick something up real quick [and no we did not use the placard. I wasn’t getting out and she is healthy]

    Count your blessings, and ignore the ignorance and hate. It simply isn’t worth it. Smile loud. Life IS a gift.

    PS – I do agree with everyone’s opinions, as they are their own and valid. This is just the way I deal with it. thanks

    Reply

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