What’s Wrong Wednesday: Mom Of Terminally Ill Son Shamed For Parking In An Accessible Parking Spot

A Pennsylvania mother and her terminally ill son’s trip to see Santa Claus turned less than merry after they found a nasty note written on their car window.

The Gilbertsville family was parked in an accessible parking spot outside the King of Prussia Mall, when mom Nancy Coyne was shocked to find a message scribbled in red lipstick that read, “UR Not Handicap.”

Her son, seven-year-old Garrett Coyne, suffers from a rare neurological condition called Batten disease, which has caused him to lose his motor skills and go blind. The disease normally ends in childhood death.

According to Fox 29 (Philadelphia), the family’s car had a legal parking placard for an accessible parking spot and the King of Prussia Mall is helping police with the investigation.

There are millions of people who are forced to contend with serious illnesses, injuries and circumstances, which have left them with mountains to climb every time they take a step. Most people do not realize a person can have hindrances on the inside, that may not visible on the outside. Their restrictions may not be conspicuous at a glance, but their pain, limitations and inability to function normally can be debilitating.

Here are just a few invisible reasons a person might have that enable them to qualify either temporarily or long-term for an accessible parking space:

Back injury, brain injury, chronic illness, chronic pain, heart condition, muscular disorders, neurological disorders, seizure disorders, spinal disorders, bone disorders, chronic injuries, organ transplant, oxygen impairment, difficult pregnancy, prosthetic, surgery and several others.

These reserved spaces are designed to help those in need of them for a number of reasons so don’t judge appearances. Whether the disability is visible or invisible to others, without these spaces, seemingly simple tasks in life could be increasingly painful, overwhelming, often impossible or even life threatening for millions of people.

It is honorable when people care if these spots are being abused by those who do not need them. Yet, we must remember, as shown in this article, we cannot be the judge of who deserves to park in the accessible spaces and who does not, just by looking at them.

If a person is displaying a license to park in an accessible parking space, try offering a hand, instead of a visual judgment. After all…the people you are graciously intending to defend, may be standing right in front of you.

To read the Fox 29 Philadelphia article, http://www.foxnews.com/us/2017/12/07/mom-terminally-ill-son-shamed-for-parking-in-handicapped-spot.html

To read “Don’t Judge Appearances for Accessible Parking and Other Needs” article, https://invisibledisabilities.org/ida-books-pamphlets/accessibleparking/dontjudgebyappearances/

(image description: on the driver side window of a car there are letters written in red lipstick that says UR Not Handicap.)