NEW FEATURE!

I’m Hear

Dear Liv,
I’m just a regular kind of person. Although I’m concerned about many things that are happening in our world, I don’t go to rallies or stand-ins or protests. However, there’s something I’ve felt very strongly about for a long time, and I don’t hold back from letting that be known.

Handicapped Parking! Right. I cannot tell you the amount of people I see using the handicapped parking spaces when they aren’t handicapped!! I’m not talking about the people who have a sticker, but seem to get out of their car without problem. You have no idea what their situation may be. They could be having a good day that day, they could be on the end of a surgery that will soon take them off of the handicapped list, or perhaps it’s their spouse with the handicap, and this person is picking up medicine for them. (In this case, the person could use another parking space – but I’ll even excuse this situation, as being a caregiver takes a tremendous amount of physical and emotional energy). I’m also not talking about the people who don’t have a sticker, but have an obvious reason for using the space – an elderly person struggling with walking long distances or someone on crutches. I’m talking about the ones who don’t have a sticker and appear absolutely completely capable of running a 10K!!

I’m not a snitch or a narc or anything, but this really gets my goat!! I’ve given dirty looks, I’ve beeped at these cars, and I’ve even gone up to them and asked them why they’re in a handicap space. Is there anything more I can do? I have elderly parents, I have a brother who has ALS and is in a wheelchair, and I’ve had many friends over the years that unfortunately have needed to use these spaces. I just want to get people to understand that parking in a handicapped space is NOT okay, if you’re not handicapped!!!! What more can I do?
Angry Anna

Dear Anna,
Well, it sure is nice to know that there are people out there watching out for those who need a voice! Be sure to use caution though, as these days the beeping of a horn or a direct confrontation can be fatal. On the other hand, I don’t think there’s anything wrong with approaching the person using the parking space without a sticker, even if just to state that perhaps they didn’t see that they have driven into a handicapped spot.

It was several years ago now, but I challenged a woman in a van who had no hanging sign on her mirror, no sticker on her license plate, and appeared totally capable of walking the whole parking lot. She first became aggressive with me, stating that her son was a quadriplegic and that they just got this new van, and were waiting on their stickers. She even said to me “Do you want to see the inside of my van? I can prove it!” (The van was built to carry his wheelchair and such.) I of course apologized, but assured her that my intentions were heartfelt. I explained that when I don’t see handicapped stickers, I try to remind people who are not in a position to need these special spaces, to be sure not to use them. She calmed down very quickly, and we ended on a good note.

I think each situation needs to be assessed. If I saw a group of young, wild looking guys, I think I’d choose to call the police or tell the store manager inside. You have to use your brain to some degree. People don’t usually like to be “called out” when they’re in the midst of preforming a super stupid-human act!

Keep doing what you do though, as I’m right next to you. We DO have to take a stand, and make sure to protect those who are unable to stand for themselves. We can be very grateful that we’re able to get around without problem…today. Who knows what tomorrow might bring us?

Live and Learn

If you would like to ask Liv a question that may be addressed in a future column, send a short email to livannelern@gmail.com

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