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.