Itís not that she wasnít parked in a handicapped parking space — she admits she was.
Itís not that she actually did possess a handicapped parking placard — she admits she did not.
Itís not that she has a disability — no, not that either.
So what is her defense? Well, her arm was in a sling from recent surgery; she was on medication; she has a huge scar; it was raining; she was only going to be there for a few minutes; and it was unavoidable.
Now sheís complaining that the fine is too high. And Iím guessing the dog ate her homework, too.
The woman was obviously having a very bad day. Thatís about as much empathy I can muster up; I suspect she is a bit empathy-deficient herself.
Where to begin…
Handicapped parking spaces provide access for people with impaired mobility or a condition that creates a safety concern. We donít get to diagnose this ourselves; a doctor must attest to the disability.
Having had shoulder surgery myself — twice — I can confirm the level of pain and discomfort she must have been in, but neither the surgery nor the sling impact mobility.
Her complaint about being on medication leads one to wonder if she should have been driving at all. The scar… well, thatís just silly.
Iím sure the rain was inconvenient and she only intended to be there for a few minutes, but her assertion that it was ďunavoidableĒ is preposterous. It was entirely avoidable.
Handicapped parking spaces exist to enable people with disabilities to lead independent lives. Sometimes the disability is apparent, sometimes it is not, but either way it doesnít apply to Ms. Eberle.
There is only one rule for people who do not qualify for a handicapped parking placard:
- Never park in a handicapped parking place — under any circumstances. Leave it for those for those who truly need it. Be thankful that you donít need one and hope that you never will. Itís that simple.
I received a handicapped parking placard in 2004. I have relapsing/remitting multiple sclerosis and sometimes have great difficulty with stamina and with walking more than a few yards at a time. The key word in that sentence is ďsometimes.Ē
Grateful for the placard, but keenly aware of my ďsometimesĒ status, I set some rules for myself so that I wouldnít take advantage:
- I will use the placard only if mobility or stamina are an issue.
- I will never try to justify using the placard for the wrong reasons.
- I will never lend it to anyone.
- I will remove it from the rear view mirror when driving, for safety reasons.
- I will never apologize for needing it or using it.
- I will always support the rights of people with disabilities.
That placard has been with me for six years and Iíve never misused it, even when the temptation was there.
I just had shoulder surgery… Iím in pain… Iím having a rotten day… itís raining… Iíll only be a minute… yes, Iíve walked in Janice Eberleís shoes, but I did it from a regular parking space.
Do you think it is ever okay for someone without a placard to use a handicapped parking space? Please take a moment to participate in the poll below. If you answer yes, please leave a comment and tell us why.
Writer Ann Pietrangelo embraces the concept of personal responsibility for health and wellness. As a person living with multiple sclerosis, she combines a healthy lifestyle and education with modern medicine, and seeks to provide information and support to others. She is a regular contributor to Care2 Causes. Follow on Twitter @AnnPietrangelo.
Image credit: PhotoXpress.com