Thursday, January 9, 2014

How Not to Behave in a Parking Lot

To the woman in the black SUV at Costco:

I was really quite confused when you pulled in front of my newly parked vehicle and blocked me in but I let it go. When you rolled your window down and glared at me as I was attempting not to slip on the ice I didn't feel like killing myself to walk over to you but I listened to your sign language asking if I had an accessible parking permit and nodded yes quite politely with a smile even though it was visible on my dash.

You sat and watched me take my child out and into a cart after making sure it was as safe for him as I could while he screamed and fought me. Pretty much the last thing I needed at that moment was for you to roll down your other window as I walked passed you and say

"You can't effing park here just because you have a kid... Even if he is screaming!"

I'll admit I didn't respond right away because you caught me off guard. Before I could respond you apparently thought my shock at your rudeness was lack of understanding and added:

"You can't park there, it's for people like me who have a permit. I've called the cops on you. You have to have a permit to park there."

At which point I found my voice and my righteous indignation and told you "It's displayed on the dash. Thanks for your concern."

In the spectrum between total dependence and fully able bodied my spouse does not always look disabled. At the time you were losing your mind on me he was not responding as he was focusing too hard on not falling and breaking a hip on the ice as he does not have full control or range of movement in his left leg since the stroke. For that matter the kid you were sneering at for yelling about being in a cart is autistic and immunocompromised (part of what took us so long getting him in was making the cart safe for him) and has a chronic lung disease.

I get it. Disabled people don't always look disabled. Which is why I smiled and polite when you asked me your initial question even though I wanted to just get on with my day.

Once you brought yourself to my attention I noticed you were alone in your vehicle and fairly young yourself, probably less than a decade older than myself. I'm sure you've probably encountered people making snap "young must be able bodied" judgments about you and so I don't understand at all why you'd do so to someone else.

No one likes when people park in accessible spots who don't need to. Least of all the disabled persons who actually need them. But c'mon now. Next time a smile and a lot less asshole would be much appreciated.


A woman in a blue van who just wanted to buy some bread and return a game

PS: To the elderly gentleman parked in the accessible spot behind us when we went to leave your smile and chatter to our three year old to calm him down was so much appreciated. He wanted you to come right over and visit with him which is rare for him but we understood fully that you were safer not risking more ice when you were already at your car. Thank you for the kindness. You don't know how much we all needed it.