The Battle for the Disabled Parking Spot

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“Disabled parking spaces are for disabled people!” he yelled at me.

I know, I thought. That’s why I’m parked in it. But he never gave me the chance to formulate my reply.

“They’re not for mothers with children!” he continued loudly. That made my blood boil. Since when did disability and motherhood, or childhood for that matter, become mutually exclusive? 

Perhaps he was enjoying the attention he was attracting with his bellows. Perhaps he’d had a bad day, and just needed to vent his frustration, I don’t know. I watched sadly as he limp-stomped around the the rear of my wheelchair car towards the windscreen. Prejudice and attack from outside the circle of disability, whilst abhorrent, was something I could understand. But coming from within, from another disabled person, it was kind of hard to take, Furthermore, his outburst did nothing to further our ’cause’; all the sympathetic looks from passers-by were directed at me, not him, even though they thought I was an able person stealing a disabled parking space.

Then he stopped, kind of collapsed in on himself, all his bluster suddenly blown away. He’d seen my disabled parking permit displayed on the dashboard. Did he turn to me with a wry smile on his lips, a sorry look in his eye, apologetic words on his tongue?

Did he hell!

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“I hope you make sure and tell those mothers with babies who park in these spots,” he flung at me, and limp-stomped self-righteously off, head held high. I watched him go, wondering at the vehemence of his hatred for mothers with children. Some mothers did seem to think that the big blue ‘P’ applied to them too. I have also heard the able-bodied express their annoyance at the rows of empty disabled spaces in a packed car park.

I guess life is just full of injustice and inequality. Maybe it’s how we deal with them which points out true disability.

I strapped Carys into her wheelchair, locked the car, and pushed her towards the ramp which gave wheelchair access.

My new limp-stomping angry disabled friend had abandoned his car on the yellow lines, and completely sealed off the entrance to the ramp.

16 Comments on “The Battle for the Disabled Parking Spot

  1. I’ve done the same as this man a couple of times but have had the good grace to apologise PROFUSELY and felt really bad about it!!! The thing is it’s so annoying and the bays are abused so much but mums with buggies are just the tip of the iceberg. So many think they’re entitled to use the bays ‘because they’re empty’!! I’ve even seen driving schools use them which really p’s me off!

    My daughter is almost 16 so we’ve been dealing with this issue for a long time and now, due to the toll caring for someone who cannot walk has taken on my body I’m also suffering with disability issues so I get even angrier when people abuse the bays.

    I’m sorry to hear how he treated you and think this guy was really ignorant not to apologise but the ignorance you’ll get from people who shouldn’t be using the bays is often far worse. I’ve lost count of the number of times my car has been keyed for pointing out someone shouldn’t use the bay outside my house – I’ve even been called a black whore just for challenging someone (who didn’t know a thing about me I by the way)!

    Funnily enough I got on the bus the other day and sat in a priority seat. This elderly lady said to her friend loudly “I would have sat there but I save those seats for disabled people” – I so wanted to show her my Freedom Pass!!

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    • Omg when will people ever look beyond the length of their own nose and stop judging others?!! You shouldnt have to justify yourself to anyone, but we’re made to feel that we should all the time. Mothers of non-disabled children who park in disabled spaces make me sooo cross! I feel guilty when I park in one in case someone challenges me, isnt that ridiculous? Just hold your head up…and stay strong!

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      • Thanks and right back at ya!!! I hope you ‘grow out of’ that guilty feeling, you have the badge so you’re entitled to use it unlike some!! Love your blog, it’s so honest and thought provoking.

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        • Thank you! I’m glad you enjoyed reading my posts. As for the guilt, I dont think you ever grow out of it. Its like, I always feel guilty when I see a police car wben Im driving… even though I know I havent done anything wrong lol! Guilt is just part and parcel of being a mother.

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    • Ha! You should have done it! Your car was keyed?!! Thats shocking! And verbal abuse like that is unforgiveable… dont these people have any self control?!!

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  2. A similar thing happened to me when my oldest son was in a Scottish Rite brace, to treat Legg-Calve-Perthes Disease. Carrying the shopping, I had arrived at my car before my son did, who was following with his father. I said nothing to the woman who accosted me, and I opened the car door, intending to retrieve my permit and wave it at her. Then my son arrived, clickety-clacking in his leg brace. The woman interrupted her tirade and began apologising.

    All of these impetuous people probably felt like crawling into a hole after what they’d said, although only one had the integrity to retract her words. But I hope they all became better car park users, in the future.

    Now, I’m the disabled one, with a permit of my own. One time, when I was still capable of driving, I had pulled up in the blue space and was rooting in my handbag, with my permit lying on the passenger seat, when a woman I didn’t know tapped on the window. When I opened it, she said, “Better put your permit up, because that lady over there gave you a dirty look!”

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    • Thats a great story Christine! But why are people so quick to be judgemental? And feel they have the right to ‘have a go’? Thats what I dont understand. Anyway, thank you for sharing your experiences and I look forward to getting to know you via our blogs!

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  3. I think the funniest thing that’s happened to me regarding parking – Well, it was funny to me and my mother: I was 14 and still in a manual chair that could fold up and be put in the back of a car. She got out of the car, walking and seemingly abled. A man (why is it always men?) said very hatefully “Those spaces are for the disabled, lady!” She turned to him and calmly replied “And, sir, if you will give me a chance I will get my DISABLED WHEELCHAIR-BOUND daughter out of the car” – Caps imply the emphasis she put on the words, not yelling at him. He huffed loudly, turned and sulked away.

    I appreciate there are people out there who actually care. So many times I can’t find a handicap spot because someone, who is not disabled, takes it up out of convenience.
    But, to spew such hate toward someone is baffling.

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  4. Blimey, you did well to keep your cool under those circumstances. Some people are just so rude without reason, not actually thinking through what they say before opening their mouths.

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    • I know but the poor guy had obviously come across lots of moms with kids parking in his space…I was just one too many and he needed to let off steam. It was the irony of his parking that got to me! He wanted people to show consideration to him but showed none himself to others.

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  5. My previous remark about ‘First engage brain, let it warm up and activate BEFORE operating tongue’ certainly applies to your new ‘friend’ and sadly, to a LOT of people I’m afraid Ali.

    They need to apply two old Celtic sayings

    In Scotland “Keep the Heed” (i.e., keep calm)
    In parts of Ireland “Houd yer wheescht” (i.e., stay silent)

    😀

    Liked by 1 person

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