Blue And White

There can be a visible and invisible disability, so don’t judge, you are not aware of my reality. I have a handicapped parking sticker, so when you see me, please do not bicker. In recent years, you have probably noticed more and more news articles reporting on incidents pertaining to handicap parking. There have been proposed legislation and warning of stiff fines, to deter violators from parking where they are not permitted to.
Violators are taking a parking spot away from people who need and deserve to park there. If you have ever been tempted to park somewhere you know you are not supposed to be, ask yourself these three questions; What is my motivation for parking here? Who am I taking this space from by parking here? How will it impact others? Hopefully, the answers will reach your conscience, and cause you to think twice about your negative choices.
Not only are violators taking handicapped spots from people who need them, but they are also causing a backlash, putting those with disabilities at risk for more vulnerability. There is a heightened policing of handicapped spots both by people in uniform and civilians. It is good that people are looking out for others, by making sure drivers are abiding by the rules, but how far is too far? Too far is when innocent disabled people are accosted for no reason. Too far is when people insult and harass others.
Change happens by acting, not reacting. Many times people have been fueled by anger, that they forget to evaluate the whole situation. When you are looking to see who is parking in the handicapped spot, did the person have a sticker? If they did, then your job is done, and leave it at that. It is not your job to judge who is disabled or not; appearances can be deceiving. For example, last week in Colorado, a mother and her ten year old daughter, who has a rare invisible pain disorder, lawfully parked in the handicapped spot. To the human eye, the mother and daughter appeared not to have anything physically wrong with them. With their handicapped sticker showing in their car, the pair went into the store. To their surprise, when they returned to their vehicle, they found an appalling note from a bystander, calling them lazy, amongst other things. How do you think that made them feel? My guess is pretty bad. They did nothing wrong, but were bullied.
Handicapped parking is a hot topic, which is causing people to react before thinking. But, harassing others is unacceptable. If you have a concern about a potential parking violator, bring it up with the management of that particular establishment, rather than confronting the individual. Look for the handicapped sticker first, before assuming the worst. To the violators, if you stop the negative behavior, then that will eliminate the confusion that is arising from this growing problem.

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