I’m a Disability Parking Crusader and Proud of It

Blog viewable of Living Like You.

I am really excited for my debut post on Living Like You! I thought long and hard about what I would say on a website that is focused on living beyond the limitations that MS may present at times. So I decided not to write about my symptoms, treatments, diagnosis or anything else about my disease. I’ll leave that to someone else. I’d rather tell you about a personal pet peeve of mine.

Parking space violators. They’re the worst, and let me tell you why.

When I walk past an accessible parking space, I always make a point to look for proper documentation. If someone is parked in a space designated for people living with disabilities without an Accessible Parking Permit in their vehicle, it rubs me the wrong way. No matter how hard I try, every time I encounter it, I try not to let it bother me, but it does. I have even become confrontational about it. In many situations, they move their car, but that’s not always the case.

I consider myself to be a disability parking crusader. Others call me a parking space vigilante. No permit displayed? Get a ticket. It’s that simple.

I vividly recall a time where two adults were sitting in the front seat of their car in an accessible parking space, claiming to be waiting for their daughter who ran into the store “just for a minute.” We’ve all heard that one before! I asked them to move their car, and when they refused, took out my phone to call the police. Even though I looked at his license plate number, there was no way I would remember even one digit without writing it down (a memorable cog-fog moment). He didn’t need to know that though. My cell phone battery also happened to be dead – he didn’t need to know that either. I felt so proud that he moved his car. At that moment, I imagined winning an award for my stellar acting performance.

The glory was short lived because minutes later, the same man came into the grocery store to find me. He approached me with anger in the aisle and while pointing his finger in my face said, “You think you are cool by asking me to move my car! You’re nobody.” I responded by saying, “I have multiple sclerosis and I don’t even park in that spot. Those spots should be saved for the people that need them – the elderly and people that are disabled. Now if you don’t keep walking, I will call the police again now that I have your license plate number.” Although my adrenaline was flowing and I seemed confident, I was shaking inside.

There must be a better way to handle these situations. I do try to pride myself on being kind to people but I am appalled at the audacity of drivers that park in handicap parking spots in public places and without appropriate documentation.

I am fortunate and grateful to be able to walk from a distance. I don’t take the ability to walk for granted. I have friends that are in scooters and wheelchairs that need that space. I admit that there used to be a time when I would purposely park further away from the doors with a goal of getting a few extra steps in my day. But as my multiple sclerosis progresses, it’s not as easy to walk when I am incredibly lethargic, fatigued, or experiencing tingling; I will look for parking closer to the door, but I will not park in the handicap parking spot, not yet anyway.

What do you think about parking space violators? Does it bother you as much as it bothers me? Share with me on Facebook.

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