Tuesday, June 9, 2015

This Happened When We Used A Handicapped Placard


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.


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1 comment:

Alisha said...

Oh, that makes me so happy. I'll admit that even though my mom is permanently in a wheelchair and has a placard for parking, even I get a little frustrated when I see someone who doesn't seem to need to park in a handicapped spot use one. But if they have a placard or plates, I remind myself that not all disabilities are obvious. Once, we were trying to find a spot somewhere with my mom and she was having a bad pain day so it was imperative we got her inside quickly. The lot was very busy but I finally found an open handicapped spot. I started toward it and someone else pulled in. I was frustrated but hey, it happens. Then as I was waiting while another car pulled out in front of me, I noticed that the woman getting out of the car who had just taken the handicapped spot looked healthy, and her 2 kids looked fine as well. Obviously they still could have had a non-obvious disability, like Jack. But they weren't using a placard and they didn't have plates. Well, when you have a placard you sometimes forget to put it up. That's understandable. I couldn't help myself- I rolled down my window and called out to the woman: "I think you forgot to put your placard up, for parking in a handicapped spot." I smiled, but I'll admit I just had a strong feeling she didn't have one. She glanced at me, told her kids to come, and said. "We're just running in really quick." Then she started going inside! I was so ticked. I pulled up closer to her and said, "My mom has an actual disability and we need that spot. I need to get her inside and without the extra room to get her chair out, I can't use a regular spot. You are breaking the law and I'm going to call the police now, and take a picture of your plates and your car in a handicapped spot." Well, that scared her. She wasn't apologetic, she was just mad I was interrupting her errand. But at least she moved, after calling me a few choice names. Can you believe it?

Okay, sorry for the long story. Lol. I'm so glad the man was nice and you didn't have to put up with any crap in that particular parking lot! :)