Contributed by: Jackie
Reviewed by: Evelyn Corsini, MSW, August 2009
I first received my handicapped placard when I was only 32 years old; needless to say the ugly, critical stares and comments began immediately. Here are a few: they usually all started with “Do you know that that is a Handicapped parking spot?” When I said “yes” and left my car there and actually continued into the store then the uglier comments would come. Especially if I actually tried to ignore them, then on quite a few occasions I noticed that they actually went out of their way in order to get the store manager in order to have my car towed! I actually had to laugh that these people had so little to do. Sometimes I would try to politely say that I was disabled and people felt it was their obligatory right to demand to know what was wrong with me as on most occasions I was told that I “looked fine.” Usually I would try to ignore them but on some occasions I couldn’t and would say “Feel free to walk a mile in my shoes. Trust me you wouldn’t last 5 seconds.
Three years ago my 75 year old father passed away suddenly while working. A police officer who had known both of us saw me parking with the handicapped placard and told me “You know you can’t use that anymore.” Rather than argue with him I just handed him the placard so that he could see that it was mine and not my father’s. He took it from me, I honestly believe he was expecting to keep it until he turned it over and saw that it was my picture on it and without a word he just handed it back to me.
I continue to get critical stares and or comments and have found the best way to handle it is to just let it roll off my back. It’s too bad these same people weren’t so interested in investing their energy in a more positive pursuit; but there will always be those who feel it is their right to tell others how to live and point out what they believe others are doing wrong.