Rant: Accessible Parking: Stupidity Is NOT A Disability!

Dec 09, 2010
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Some disabilities are “invisible” while others can make a person feel invisible, so we should not judge others by how they look to determine if they “deserve” to be parking in an accessible space.  However, STUPIDITY is NOT a disability.

I understand that some parking lots seem to have “too many” accessible spaces while others have too few. This holiday season as shoppers flock to stores, please keep in mind that unless you have lived with a person with a disability, or you are a person with a disability, then you have no clue as to the daily struggles to do even the simplest and most mundane things that everyone else takes for granted. Every aspect of life is more difficult, so why not count your blessings if you are a person who can walk independently into the store?

It might be cold or raining or snowing or unbearably hot, and it would be ever so much easier to pull into an accessible parking space, run in, get your shopping over, then run out and leave. Little do we realize that someday we may be the ones needing those accessible spaces. It is a known fact that any traffic accident at a speed over 25 MPH has the ability to result in severe mobility impairments. The natural aging process also may also take its toll and someday you will grow old and may need a walker, a cane, or a wheelchair. One more thing you would have to face then is that vehicles are often broken into just so the accessible parking permit placard can be stolen!

What brought on this rant? There was an elderly gentleman with a disability who had pulled into an accessible spot, but some car had whipped in right over the yellow lines so there wasn’t even enough space between the accessible spot and the car for the van’s ramp to be lowered. The man was trapped in his vehicle.

I walked over as he was struggling to lower the lift and asked if I could assist him. Since that was the only way his electric wheelchair could be taken out of the car, I went inside, fetched a motorized scooter, brought it to him, and helped him into it from the driver’s door. It was clumsy and uncomfortable for us both, but I assured him that I would await his return to help him back into his van.

The reality of the situation was that I was steaming mad. The car, that had squeezed between two accessible spaces, had no placard hanging from the mirror, nothing on the license and no sticker to indicate that it belonged in that spot. Grrrrr like the Grinch as I waited, growing more ticked by the second.

Finally two young girls approached the car, one busy talking on her cell phone and the other busy texting.  Not all disabilities are something that is visible, for example a heart condition or autism…I do try not to judge, but it’s not every day that I decide I want to kick someone’s butt either for making life harder for someone who faces enough daily challenges. These two girls did not appear to have a disability.

“Excuse me,” I said to the girl talking on her phone. She pointed to her phone as if I was the rudest person alive to dare interrupt her conversation. When she reached for her door handle, I just blurted, “Do you have a disability?”

She rolled her eyes and said no. Then she got in her car before she told the person on the phone that she was being harassed.

I pointed from the van and to where she had parked, letting her know that she had trapped an elderly man who uses a wheelchair in his van. She didn’t bother to stop talking on the phone. So I told her, “Rudeness is not a disability. Neither is stupidity.”

That was rude of me, I know, and very uncool to have a meltdown.  In actuality it was none of my business to begin with…except I have a child who uses a wheelchair. Finding an accessible parking space is not always easy, but finding enough room to open the ramp can be a real challenge. We usually park way in the back to avoid all this. Yet as the years go by, I find it really upsets me for people who do not have a disability to take accessible parking spots just because those are close and handy.

And yes, I helped the man back into his van. In the big picture of life, I’m pretty sure my temper at the young driver nullified any random act of kindness. I find it so very sad and disheartening to see people who don’t need an accessible parking space go ahead and park there. For people who disregard those with disabilities, some people will simply call the cops. Most parking lots have CCTV, so license plates and illegal parking is not difficult to prove. Or, you never know, you might run into a crazy lady who is pushed to road rage. Just joking…but please keep persons with disabilities in mind as we all flock to stores this holiday season.

Forgive my poor example of sharing holiday cheer. I’m not often ba-humbug and grinch-like, but this situation just set me off. Thank you for listening to my rant.

Author: Tessa



  • sakami

    Thanks for posting this. Truly. It is such a problem in our society. It’s easy for some people unfortunately to not think of others until it happens close to home… But posts like yours can help remind otherwise good people…
    Best wishes.

  • Melodys

    SOMEONE LIKE ME! gosh i get really mad at these people too, i also go up to them and ask…i cant stand it, when did some people think they are so entitled. i notice the nicer the cars the more entitled too!!!