I pulled into the parking lot and made my way past the line of cars to the front, looking for an open spot. I noticed the very first handicapped spot was free. I pulled in and parked, opened the glove box, got out our newly mailed placard and placed it on the mirror.
I looked over and saw Jon walking to the car. He was meeting us on his lunch break. He opened the door to get Jack out. I grabbed my purse and began walking to grab a shopping cart. That's when I noticed a man coming quickly toward us. I immediately thought oh no, here it comes.
In preparation for getting the decal, I had gone over exactly what I would say if someone would question us about parking in the reserved spots. I have read so many articles about this happening, that I thought well, this is the way it's going to be and I have to be ready to answer, to educate. Jack might not look disabled upon first glance. He does not have something noticeable, like a wheelchair, to assuage people's concern. He is not elderly or walking with a cane. Sadly, I knew that getting questioned comes with the territory.
A few months ago we realized we were at the point of needing a parking permit to make life a little easier on our growing boy. Accessing the hospital and public places was getting more and more difficult as Jack got bigger and my ability to carry him long distances was diminishing. The fact that he can't walk more than a few dozen feet only adds to the need. So our doctor got us the decal and we have tentatively been using it.
When I saw the man rushing at us, my stomach sank. I had already noticed some odd stares the first few times of use, and now we were already going to be lectured! I thought not yet. Please, just let us be. I took a deep breath and waited.
The man exclaimed "I just wanted to come and say that you are doing such a good job being his parents." Pointing to Jack with a smile on his face, he said "you are taking such good care of him. I hope you have a great day."
We mumbled a shocked "well, thank you" as he walked away, into the store.
We just looked at each other and laughed. There are some really good people in the world.