Stop bugging me!

By Jodie

A quick, hassle free trip to the supermarket is usually impossible when you have children.  One of my children has a physical disability and is unable to walk.  Getting a park in a accessible parking spot is supposed to make it a little easier for me.  It also has the potential to completely ruin my shopping experience, as I found yesterday, yet again.


As I pulled into my parking space, I noticed the woman in the car next to me staring.  Instinctively, I checked if she had a parking permit.  She had one.  As I got out of my car she wound her window down and abruptly said “You do realise that you are in a disabled parking spot, don’t you?”.  I was instantly annoyed.  I snapped back, “Yes.  I do have a permit.  I have a child with a disability in the car.”


I was so mad I was shaking.  Why did I have to explain myself to her?  This woman still didn’t look satisfied with my response and said “Oh, alright”, then drove off.


What made me angrier was that I see this woman often.  The only reason that she didn’t recognise me, was that she is always too busy staring at my child.


This is not the first time that I have been questioned for parking in a accessible parking space.  I can understand that these people are driven by frustration.  I am sometimes inconvenienced by people without permits parking in these parking spaces too.  I do understand their intentions.  However, they should check first to see if I hold a permit.    Then, once they see that I do have one they should leave it at that.


I once had an elderley gentleman ask me if I had borrowed the car.  I did not have the energy to explain so I just said “No, it’s mine.”  I then smiled at him, got into my car and drove off.


I also have, on two separate occasions, had elderley women question my reason for holding the permit after I told them that I had one.  They didn’t see me struggle as I transferred my child into the car.  They always challenge me before they have all of the facts.


My explanation for this behaviour is ignorance.  They only see their own struggles.  My child’s disability is not what gets me down, it is attitudes and behaviours like these.



Filed under 1, jfinn08

7 responses to “Stop bugging me!

  1. Arrgh Jodie, this happens to me too! And as we have moved into the powerchair, the parking space has gone from necessary to essential. It drives me nuts the stares we get. But it just is like water off a ducks back for hubby. Maybe we just care too much what people think?

  2. Pingback: Parked « Terrible Palsy

  3. Oh Jodie, it drives me mad. Especially seems to be older people who are so judgemental. My car is full of “inclusion” and “disability” stickers, yet still people give me grief. My oldest walks (well, wobbles) independently now, and my youngest is still only two years old so people just assume that i meant to be in the parents with prams spots.
    I can’t wait until I have two permits (my youngest qualifies next April, possibly earlier now she has the powerchair). I can’t wait to tell them “you’ve got one, but i have two, na na na na nah, so now leave me alone”.
    On the other side of the debate, one of my favorite gadgets is a very bright and very sticky sticker that reads “You got my parking spot, would you like my disability too” that i stick on cars that don’t have a permit yet park in disabled spots. They are really hard to get off…

  4. Fiona

    Yuk Jodie, doesn’t it drive you nuts? What I found most horrible was how you said the elderly woman has seen you often and didn’t recognise because she is always staring at your child. I couldn’t count the number of times we have missed appointments or been late as I drove round and round looking for somewhere I could squeeze the van into with a nearby ramp to get the powerchair onto.

  5. Liz (Poppy's mum)

    I really do try to rise above similar comments or looks/stares, but occasionally it just gets me down too.

    Last school hols I took the kids to an event at our State Art Gallery – the ‘car-park full’ sign was up and there was a car queueing next to the driveway. I drove up to the attendants’ box and asked if there were any disability parking spots available (I could see there were four). He surprised me by actually asking why I needed it, so I informed him one of my children in the car had a disability and a permit . He said “So, driver’s not disabled?” No. “Umm, I shouldn’t really let you in, the lady in the car out there has been waiting for a while…” Oh, does she have a disability? “Oh, no, I…” (Feeling very angry now) Well, I don’t mind going out there and explaining to her that my daughter has quadriplegia – I’m sure she won’t mind me using a parking spot we’re entitled to use…

    Finally he shamefacedly let the boom gate up, with his hand out for our $12 parking fee of course. I was fuming. I just wish I’d had the presence of mind to ask his name and his superior’s phone number.

    Ok, trying to let it go now….

  6. Fiona

    Hey Liz, even now it’s not too late to state the facts to the Art Gallery in writing. If you have a parking permit and your daughter is in the car, then you have a legal right to park in accessible car spaces anywhere in Australia. It is not the job of the parking attendant to ask personal details. The Gallery needs to ensure their staff or contractors are trained in both applying relevant law and customer service – and they won’t know it’s not happening unless you tell them! At the Zoo in Sydney accessible parking fees are discounted (nowhere else though!).

  7. I think that if I didn’t have the memory of a goldfish, I would spend my whole life writing letters. I really need some sort of affirmation to say to myself whenever these things happen. Any ideas?

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