The Handicap Pass

For almost a year I was debating whether or not I should get a handicap placard for my car. If you’ve read my previous posts you would know why I need one, but if you haven’t here’s why: I have severe back pain, I can’t walk far without pain, I get tired easily from walking, and just plain and simple I have a muscular disability; FSHD. I finally decided to get one in the fall of 2015. After taking forever to arrive, I finally got it. At first it felt weird to hang up in my car when I went to the grocery store or when I parked at school, but as time went on I got used to it. My mom has had a handicap pass for a few years now and has gotten some serious looks and rude comments from people. I had never gotten any comments! I think the reason why she gets more comments than I do is because of my arch. Although the disease is way worse for her (it’s even harder for her to walk far distances) she looks almost normal, yet I look very different because of my lordosis (arched back). If I get out of my car and start walking, people assume there must be something wrong with me because of the way I walk. If my mom gets out of the car and starts walking, you wouldn’t really be able to tell that she had a disability.

So I was surprised that I hadn’t received any negative comments for parking in the handicap spot yet, until one night when I went out to dinner with my parents. We took separate cars. The restaurant was in a huge plaza where the nearest parking spot was almost a quarter mile away. I decided it was a good time to park in a handicap spot, because I knew I would have a hard time walking from a spot far away. I pulled into the spot and realized that my handicap placard had fallen on the floor of the passenger seat. Usually I would be able to reach down and grab it but I just had shoulder surgery and couldn’t move my arm in that angle. Out of the corner of my eye I saw a man slowly walking out of the CVS in front of me, staring at me. I knew right then, that he was going to come over to my car and make some rude comment. Sure enough I heard a knock at my window. “The fine for parking in that spot is $150 dollars!” he said. “I’m handicap” I said (kind of in a bitchy tone too). I swear those words came out of my mouth faster than any response I’ve ever had about my disability. “Oh, um…me too” as he shows me the cast on his arm (I’d like to add that a cast on your arm does not give you the right to use a handicap pass). I got out of my car and went to the passenger side to pick up the placard and put it on my rear view mirror.

I get it. The guy saw my car parked in a handicap spot, no handicap placard and a 21 year old girl. Seems fishy, but come on. When did everyone become so nosey. It’s like we get joy out of “busting” other people. You want to get people in trouble because it will make you feel good about yourself. But when did anyone say it was okay for you to decide if someone is handicapped or not. This got me thinking a lot about my mom and her situation. People have rudely asked her multiple times why she’s parked in the handicap spot even when her handicap placard is showing!! They just see a good looking woman and assume there could never be anything wrong with her and that she must be abusing the system by using her mom’s handicap placard. What gives these people the right to judge my mom or me.

I just recently looked up a question about using a handicap to see what people said and I was so angry when I saw this question; THIS is exactly the kind of thing I’m talking about:

Screen Shot 2015-08-03 at 3.04.34 PM

See! This is what I’m talking about with my mom. People see a “gorgeous young woman get out of the car” and just assume she’s wrongfully using someone else’s handicap pass. Also, the fact that they said gorgeous is kind of messed up; are you saying that handicapped people are unattractive? Anyways, I’d like to applaud this person though for having an excellent response:

Screen Shot 2015-08-03 at 3.07.36 PM

Thank you “Predator”.

Sometimes I get weird stares from people as I get out of the car. It really bugs me because then I debate whether or not I should take the handicap spot at the grocery store or at the mall, etc. EVEN THOUGH I actually need it. If I see a lot of people walking around the parking lot I sometimes avoid the handicap spot because I don’t want people to think I’m abusing the system. I am then forced to park farther then I want to and walk out of the store in severe pain. I shouldn’t have to think like this. I should be able to park in a handicap spot and not have to worry about people being rude. Just think about this the next time you see what you think is an “able-bodied person” getting out of the car in a handicap spot.

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