A Colorado disabled veteran says she was shocked to see a nasty note left on her car after she parked in a disabled parking spot. Another customer apparently took exception to her parking in a disabled spot even though she doesn’t have disabilities that are readily obvious to observers.
As KKTV (Colorado Springs) reports, Catherine Rodriguez and her husband had been at Home Depot last Sunday. As she always does, she parked in a disabled spot, which is something she is legally allowed to do. However, Rodriguez’ disabilities aren’t obvious to people who don’t know her as she doesn’t use a wheelchair or have visible difficulty in walking.
Apparently, her lack of obvious disabilities struck another shopper the wrong way, and when she came back to her car from shopping, she found a nasty note had been left on her windshield.
Mean note on car shocks disabled veteranhttps://t.co/OAEoyg47cZ
(Source: Catherine Rodriguez/KKTV/CNN) pic.twitter.com/lM9ApwlxBh
— KFVS News (@kfvsnews) September 28, 2016
What the hater who wrote the mean note on the disabled veteran’s car didn’t know is that Rodriguez really is physically impaired. While on tour in Afghanistan, she suffered from an injury or other medical event (she has chosen to keep the specifics to herself). The incident left her with ongoing medical problems.
“I ended up with anaphylactic shock, and the lack of oxygen caused me to have epilepsy that cannot be controlled by medication.”
The brain damage makes it difficult for her to walk long distances. Further, she can get confused and disoriented.
“I can be very difficult to get to the vehicle and I sometimes do not remember where we are parked. I get lost in stores and stuff sometimes.”
Fortunately, she has help. A service dog helps her get around and provides emotional support. Her handicap placard gives her the legal right to park in handicap spaces, even if haters don’t think she deserves it.
“I thought it was kind of funny how people can judge just by how somebody looks whether they have a disability or not.”
Maggie Sims of The Rocky Mountain Americans with Disabilities Center says that doctors make the decision to authorize handicap parking placards and license plates, and they know what their patients are going through.
“The fact that they can get this from their doctor and then legally acquire a parking permit for this means they’re qualified. They are not scamming the system.”
Sims also encouraged readers to be sympathetic to the fact that there are lots of disabled veterans in the state suffering from PTSD, brain injuries, chronic pain, heart problems, and other “invisible injuries” that aren’t always immediately obvious.
“Not all disabilities are visible; you cannot see all of them, and some are definitely very internal — so never judge a book by a cover.”
This is not the first time a disabled person has found a mean note left on their car. Perhaps one of the meanest such notes was directed at an Ohio woman who used a prosthetic leg. As Huffington Post reported in March 2015, Ashley Brady lost her leg the previous summer, and she was attempting to adjust to life with a prosthetic. Fortunately, the apartment complex where she lived allowed her to park in a disabled spot. But a neighbor took exception to her lack of an obvious disability and started parking in her spot. Ashley left a note on the hater’s car, asking her not to park in her spot. The next day, Ashley found a confrontational letter on her own car.
“Hey Handicap. 1st, never place your hands on my car again! 2nd, honey you ain’t the only one with ‘struggles.’ You want pity go to a one leg support group!… I let the office know the cry baby one leg touches my property I will cause trouble so go cry your struggles to someone who cares cause I’m walking away with both mine!!!!!!”
Back in Colorado, Catherine Rodriguez sees something of a silver lining in the hateful note she received. If other people are aggravated enough by her use of handicap parking spots to leave nasty notes, she considers it a victory because she at least appears able and healthy.
[Featured Image by Pix One/Shutterstock]