Handicap Parking

C’mon . . . ‘fess up.  You have thought that there are a lot of people using the handicap parking spots that don’t LOOK very handicapped.  The people that don’t appear handicapped just appear . . . old.

I have to admit that this thought has crossed my mind before, but the thought was pretty fleeting until recently.  I’m one of those people that usually tries to park *further* from the door, and call it my daily/weekly/monthly exercise.  How many people were using those reserved parking spots – and why – was not particularly important to me.

Then, last month,  I had an operation my right foot.  For six weeks, I am confined to wearing an orthopedic shoe/sandal thing on that foot. This is basically fine by me, because my foot is so swollen that it won’t fit into any shoe that I own. I will be limping and with limited mobility, according to my doctor, for several months.  He  gave me a form so that I could go to the Michigan Secretary of State and get a temporary placard that would allow me to legally park in a designated handicap spot. (In Michigan it’s called “disability parking”, which is more politically correct, but less recognizable.)

I’ve got my temporary placard, but I have hardly used it.  It’s not that I haven’t tried to use it – it’s Michigan, and it’s cold and/or snowing when I go to the grocery or drug store. Since I couldn’t even wear socks for a while due to the swelling, parking a little closer would be a treat.  I  walk limp very slowly right now, so that cold air hits those unprotected toes even longer.

I don’t use it because the handicapped parking spaces are almost always full.  When I get inside, though, I almost never see anyone with a cane, walker, wheelchair, or other orthopedic device.  I always look like the most disabled person in the store.

What do you think?  Is there a massive abuse of handicap parking, or are most disabilities invisible? Is it handicapped or handicap?


6 thoughts on “Handicap Parking”

  1. Joan-
    You must have been reading my mind! Both of us went through Foot/Ankle surgery around the same time. I will be confined to this mandated orthotic boot for at least another 6 weeks. I however did not have a temporary disability placard.
    I do believe there is a massave abuse of handicap parking, many disabilities are invisibe, and I believe it is Handicap or Disabled.
    Great thought provoking post!

  2. I have a younger brother with severe Autism, so the issues the disabled community faces has always been close to my heart; I’ve volunteered in the disabled community for a long time.

    What I’ve come to understand is that most of the people with profound disabilities don’t want to be considered disabled. They want to be recognized as “regular” people and strive for independence as much as they can. Disabled parking (I agree with this being a more respectful term)is a very important part of being as independent as possible.

    A few years ago, a city employee (with a son who has Downs Syndrome)was filmed and busted for misusing the disabled parking spots. He had a sticker because of his son, but he took the best parking spaces all over downtown when his son was not with him.

    I enjoyed this post! Thanks for keeping us aware of what’s important in life.

  3. This is a problem I encounter over and over again on a daily basis. My son has cerebral palsy and uses a power wheelchair. The abuse of parking spots and placards I’ve encountered just about puts me over the edge. I am afraid that one day, I will snap and bad things will happen in a parking lot somewhere. Kidding. Sort of.

  4. Thanks for commenting, Bugg! I can tell from your blog that you are an expert at the abuse of disabled parking (I am using that term in deference to my friend Alicia’s comment). Your blog reminded me of another story: many years ago, when my daughter was a teenager, she had an accident while sledding and broke her ankle quite badly – it required two surgeries. For a while she was in a wheelchair, and I took her to local video store in the strip mall for movies. There was ONE reserved space, and it had been totally plowed in with snow by whoever did the snow removal for the strip mall. When I complained to the video store and asked them to call their landlord, their response was – so what and who cares? Justice came later – that video store went out of business. Don’t hurt anyone and keep writing your blog. Will send you pictures of the next abuse I see.

  5. Thanks for commenting, Alicia. I am coming to believe that your story about the city employee who was caught abusing his parking permit is a pretty common occurrence, based on other people’s knowledge of those types of abusers.

    I’m not saying that the disabled don’t have a right to have their own spots – but that rightful spots are being used too frequently by undeserving people, which is a slap in the face to the truly disabled.

  6. Ask your doctor for a form, or check out what is necessary in PA to get one. You may need it know that you are starting physical therapy.

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