Okay – so I had to get a handicapped parking placard a while back. I bit the bullet, gave in to my pride and applied for one. Wow – the discrimination began from the very beginning of the whole procedure – applying at the AAA. When I went in I told the customer service rep. that I needed an application for a handicapped parking placard. She looked at me kind of strange and said, “This isn’t for YOU, I assume?” (emphasizing the YOU). I said, “Yes, it is for me”. She kind of gave me a strange look and then went about giving me the application.
I thought to myself well, I am young (36) so I guess I could see asking that question. But then the more I thought about it I realized that it really wasn’t any of her business who the application was for and she really didn’t need to ask me that question and in the tone that she did.
The main reason I asked the doctor to fill out the paperwork for me for the placard is because there are days that I just cannot walk well, move around very good, or just do not have the energy to park so far away in a parking lot. I don’t take advantage of having the placard and I only use it when I am in really bad shape. Otherwise, I park wherever I can find a spot just like everyone else.
People can be very cruel, especially if you are young and ill. Illness is not age discriminatory and a lot of people just do not get how someone my age can be so sick. Elderly people are actually the cruelest when they see a young person parking in a handicapped spot. They assume that because they are elderly, they should be the only ones with the rights to those spots. Disability comes in all different forms.
I have a great response, though. When someone gives me a rough time for parking in a handicapped spot and tells me that “You don’t look disabled. You shouldn’t be taking up a parking space from someone who really needs it”. My reply is, “Looks can be deceiving. For example, you don’t look ignorant but apparently you are”.