So this happened the other day. I pull into my parking lot at work in the morning and find that most of the parking spots are full. This usually means a new training class has started for Certified Nursing Assistants. I drive to the back of the lot, noticing that the handicapped spots are all taken as well, which is unusual.
Since Arthur had his accident in 2015 and is wheelchair bound, I take more notice of handicapped parking spaces.
And you wouldn’t believe the audacity of some people!
I find a parking spot in the back, get out and start walking to the front of the building, passing by the Handicapped spaces. Out of habit, I check to see if hang-tags or handicapped license plates are displayed. Check, Check, Check, Wait.
I look on the license plate. No handicapped plate. I look for the hang-tag on the mirror. None.
Someone is in the van. As I approach, but not too close, he rolls down his window. “Hi. You’re parked in a handicapped spot. I didn’t see your handicapped tag.”
“Look in the back. My passenger is handicapped.”
“Yes, but there’s no tag on your vehicle.”
“You’re not listening. I have a passenger.”
I repeat, “Where’s your handicapped tag?”
By this time, I start to walk away. I need to get to work as I’m already a few minutes behind. And I’m not really sure if it is considered illegal to park in the handicapped spot if you are still in the vehicle.
As I turn and walk away, he raises his voice and says out the window, “I’m still in the van. I know my rights!”
I stop. I turn. And I say, “I know my rights too. My husband is a paraplegic. You are in a handicapped spot without a handicapped tag.”
Then, oh no, he didn’t! Oh yes, he did! He dared me. He said, “Go ahead, call the cops! I know my rights!”
So I snap a photo of his license plate, take a photo of his van in the handicapped spot and proceed to put the phone to my ear. Seriously? You’re going to dare me to call the cops?
It didn’t take him but a minute to pull out of the parking spot, watching me on my phone.
I did report him. I don’t know if anything will come of it.
This isn’t the first time it’s happened. And I’m sure it won’t be the last.
Being wheelchair bound already has so many limitations. Do you really want to make it harder on someone?
And so, one parking spot at a time, one situation at a time, I educate, I defend, I advocate for Arthur, for paraplegics, for handicapped folks.
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