Violet recently joked about wishing she had a super power where she could instantly know if someone who is parking in a handicap spot is doing so legitimately or not, and if not, she could make it so they were. This would make her my favourite superhero by far.
In saying that, I am keeping with the light hearted nature of her comment. OF COURSE her comment is meant to be humourous, since to my knowledge superheroes and super powers don’t really exist. I wouldn’t seriously want anyone to be beaten to the point of paralysis just for being an asshole or simply ignorant.
I can’t speak for Violet, and by the time I post this she may have explained herself a bit, but I would suspect the reason behind her comment is that she was witness to several incidents recently where the person parking was clearly not in need of the spot.
If you don’t know me personally, let me clear up the fact that I myself use a wheelchair, a power chair. I have a van with a ramp and I need the double wide spots for my ramp.
I have blogged about this issue before. I don’t really care about WHERE the handicap spots are. I have a power chair, I can be there before you, even if you are jogging. But I NEED a double wide spot. When I can’t find one, I have to park on an angle across two spots, and even though I choose two spots that are the farthest possible from the store, I often get angry notes left on my windshield and I fear one day my van will get keyed for taking up two spots. Because, of course, anyone using to spots is just a prick right? Never mind that I have a handicap permit and a large magnetic sign that says “Wheelchair Ramp” which I stick to my side door.
So you can understand my frustration when I see someone park their car with a handicap permit, and then sprint into the store because it’s raining. If you can sprint, how is it that you need the handicap spot? I have a neighbour who has a handicap permit. He has a giant SUV that you almost need a ladder to climb into, and I have seen him walking his dog a full 2 miles from our block. Explain to me why he can’t park a few spaces farther from the store.
Also, my latest frustration is at my dad’s nursing home. There are only two handicap spots. The rest of the spots are tiny. My only other option here is to park in the “no stopping, fire route” zone. But I have to. The handicap spots are usually being used. Sometimes legally, but often it’s clear that the son or daughter has inherited mom’s handicap permit. But they are visiting their parent, so that makes it legal right?
But here is my biggest issue. People who have legal handicap permits do not need to be assholes about it. Use your head, read the damn rules. And for crying out loud, just because you have a permit doesn’t mean that’s the ONLY place you are allowed to park! If at all possible, why not leave the spot for someone who needs it?
I’ll give you an example: Many little shopping plazas have only several rows of parking, with only one or two nice and wide handicap spots. If you pull into that plaza in your little Honda Fit, and you have a handicap permit, and the handicap spots are empty, but so is the SPOT RIGHT NEXT TO IT, can you kindly park in the spot next to it please? WHY do you NEED to park in the handicap spot? It’s not any closer, and you don’t need the width if you are a walking person driving a Honda fit, so WHY? Why do you take the handicap spot? Because your doctor said you can? Leave it for someone who truly needs the wide spot. Someone with a ramp or a walker.
Also, I am fed up with disabled people with permits driving their kids to the store and sitting in the handicap spot having a smoke while waiting for them. You don’t need to be there. You’re not getting out of the car, so why don’t you leave the spot for someone who needs it.
And lastly, even if you have a permit, it isn’t legal to squeeze your little car in between two legally parked vehicles in handicap spots. Yes, I know there is room, that’s because I have a ramp asshole. If you do this, rest assured I will lower my ramp and scratch your car. Oops, sorry, I didn’t see you.
Someone on Violet’s blog got offended by her comment. I understand that it’s difficult for people who have an invisible disability because they may not look like they need to be parking there. Let me assure you that I always give people the benefit of the doubt. As someone with a disability, I know how hard it can be when people make assumptions. I rarely challenge anyone directly.
Maybe the person sprinting into the store is going to get grandma who’s waiting inside. Maybe the person sitting and smoking is just about to go inside, right after they finish their smoke. You never know for sure. So I say nothing. But does that mean it’s none of my business? No, sorry, I have to disagree. If I can be certain, somehow, that the person is committing fraud, I WILL say something. It IS my business. I’ll call the cops (but they generally don’t care), I’ll call parking enforcement, and I’ll even have you towed if you are blocking me from getting back into my van. (yes, I’ve done it)
So IF Violet truly did have this super power, she DID say she would KNOW who is parking there illegally, or unnecessarily. So with that, there would be nobody being harassed needlessly by my new favorite super hero. Only those truly deserving of her wrath would be made to pay. It’s a perfect plan. And I can see no reason for anyone to get their panties in a bunch about a perfect plan.
Now the only question is, what outfit would this super hero be wearing?