I am not one for open letters to so-and-so. I think it's something we've taken too far, along with fancy pizza crusts and gigantic hair bows for our babies. I don't need cheese-stuffed, bacon-topped, pretzel crust, nor do I need to read the open letters of every Tom, Dick, and Harry about the various injustices they come across on a daily basis.
But alas, here I am, with an injustice having been witnessed and the need to just say something about it.
To the woman in the handicap parking spot at Roy City Recreation Center,
pulled in next to you, in a rush to get my son in to his swimming
lesson to which he was already late. It had already been a long day at
the hospital for two separate appointments for my daughter. I had
considered skipping out on my son's swimming lessons tonight due to
sheer exhaustion, but it was the last lesson and he loves it so much.
took the last available handicap parking spot, as I had my disabled
daughter and her wheelchair in tow. Normally I try to park in regular
spots and leave the handicap-accessible spots open for people who are in
more need of them than I am. But tonight, for some reason, I took
advantage of my right to a handicap parking pass and slipped right in
next to you.
I noticed a glow coming from the interior
of your SUV and wondered, in the back of my head somewhere, if your
interior lights had been left on and your battery was being drained. We
were late, it was cold, I had an anxious little 5-year old that needed
to get in to his swim lesson and a severely disabled 7-year old attached
to a feeding pump. I had a lot happening. But still, my thoughts
drifted to making sure some poor sap inside the building didn't come out
to a dead battery. I made a mental note to let the front desk know
someone left their lights on and maybe they could make an announcement
and you would be grateful that someone took the time to notice and all
would be right in the world.
But then I noticed you
sitting in your vehicle. You were what I'd call an older woman. You
looked warm and comfortable and it was then that I noticed your engine
was running and what I had originally thought to be the interior lights
of your vehicle, was actually just the glow radiating from a digital
reading device. Sitting in the driver's seat, you were enjoying some
sort of publication on your Nook. Or maybe it was a Kindle. I didn't
think much of you.
I try not to ever judge a person
that uses the handicap parking spots. I understand that there are so
many conditions that are unseen that would make walking long distances
very difficult and therefore entitle a person to the coveted handicap
parking pass. For all I knew, you had a muscular disorder and tired
easily when walking from your car to the door of the rec center. For all
I could see, you were an amputee who struggled to even stand up, let
alone cross an entire parking lot. You left my mind.
the swimming lesson was over we headed back out into the cold night. I
noticed, as your parking space was a straight shot from the door of the
rec center, that you were still there, car running, enjoying what I
imagined to be a terribly written harlequin novel on your e-reader.
walked past your window and muttered to myself, "she's been sitting
here in the handicap parking space this whole time?" I was kind of
miffed. But, I reminded myself that I don't know everyone's situation.
you were just the driver, and you were waiting for someone to come out
of the building. Maybe you were early for your water aerobics class and
you were just killing time with Fifty Shades of Grey. I tried not to
judge you. God knows I don't want to be judged when I use the space
because my daughter is disabled but I walk perfectly fine.
I was loading my kids into the car, I noticed you turn your headlights
on and put down your sexy time story. I thought you'd be heading into
the building for aerobics class or getting out to help some disabled or
elderly person into your passenger seat. But you didn't do either of
After I got settled behind the wheel of
my own SUV, with my kids buckled safely in the back and the wheelchair
strapped securely onto the cargo hitch, I took a minute to check my
phone. And I noticed you back out of your parking stall and drive away.
You were alone in the car when I pulled up, and
you left alone. I had given you the benefit of the doubt. I tried. But I
just couldn't figure out why you would have been sitting there that
whole time, 30 minutes, using up a handicap parking space for nothing
other than reading.
Are you disabled? If so, why
didn't you ever get out of the car? Were you just there to have a quiet
place to catch up on Christian and Anastasia? If so, why did you need
the prime parking real estate at a local recreation center to do it?
you just the chauffeur? If that was the case, why didn't you drop your
rider off and park somewhere other than that very first parking stall?
You could have circled the parking lot. You could have left that spot
open for someone else.Furthermore, why did you leave without them? Did
you decide it's just too much hassle and head to the airport for a
one-way ticket to warmer climates and drinks with umbrellas in them?
Don't worry, I bet all caretakers have entertained that fantasy. Was the
person you were waiting for going to be pumping iron for an extended
period of time and you didn't really need to wait in the parking lot at
all? Then why sit there for thirty minutes?
Like I said, I try not to judge but I just can't understand this. I've tried.
I know this isn't a big issue for some. Who cares, right? It was just half an hour in one measly parking stall.
just about every person who has every had an actual need for those
spaces cares. Those are the people you affect with your ignorance. I
hope you had a sincere reason for what I witnessed. I hope I'm wrong
about you. I hope next time you go somewhere, you'll park appropriately.
I also hope you weren't reading that terrible trilogy.
Frustrated, Feeling Overwhelmed, Emotionally Drained, Assumes Everyone
Is Honest mom who parked next to you for those thirty minutes that you
were catching up on your reading
know I'm not perfect, and I shouldn't judge others, but this makes me
crazy. It's like when a single, able-bodied person uses the handicap
bathroom stall just because they like to stretch their legs while they
pee. Well, guess what. I'm the mom who has two kids, one wheelchair, and
a tiny bladder that is forced to wait for you to vacate the stall in
order to use the restroom.
Let's all just be aware that there are actually other people in the world, shall we?