An Oklahoma mom says that she returned from shopping to find a nasty note on her windshield, shaming her for using a disabled spot. What the hater didn’t know, however, was that she was carrying her disabled son.
As Fox News reports, Colleen Scarlett-Stice went to a Tulsa Target on Wednesday, and parked in a disabled spot, which she is legally allowed to do because she has a disabled son. She says she displayed her disabled placard in full view. When she returned from shopping, she found the following note attached to her windshield.
“We watched you pull into a handicap spot and get out carrying a toddler. You have no right to park in a handicap! It is for handicap people! Shame on you!”
What the hater didn’t know, however, was that the boy she was carrying was not a toddler, as the hater alleged, but was actually Colleen’s 4-year-old son, who is, in fact, disabled. Ordinarily, the family uses a wheelchair to get around, but on that particular day, she couldn’t use the wheelchair because he had had an accident in it.
Further, she says, her son doesn’t take to being carried especially well, so she uses the handicap spots because the shorter distance makes it ever-so-slightly easier to carry him.
“You didn’t see that he doesn’t understand that flailing, kicking, and trying to hurl himself backward makes it incredibly difficult, painful, and exhausting to carry him.”
Scarlett-Stice says that when she’s not using the wheelchair, she tries to park in regular spots, mainly because she doesn’t want to deal with the stares and dirty looks she gets from passersby. But on Wednesday, the only other parking spot was simply too far away.
Colleen is not the first person to be publicly shamed for using a disabled spot that they are entitled to use. It turns out that many disabilities aren’t readily obvious, and that, unfortunately, leads some people to reach the wrong conclusion when they observe a person who doesn’t appear to be disabled using a handicap spot.
Disabled Colorado veteran Catherine Rodriguez found this out for herself not long ago, according to this Inquisitr report. Rodriguez, who suffers from PTSD and brain damage from her injuries in Afghanistan, went to a Home Depot, parked in a handicap spot, and returned to find a nasty note from a hater who assumed she wasn’t disabled.
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
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. She also notes that lots of people — disabled veterans, especially — suffer from so-called “invisible disabilities” like 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.”
Back in Oklahoma, Colleen would like to remind her hater that his or her heart may be in the right place when it comes to advocating for people with disabilities, publicly shaming someone you don’t know isn’t the way to go.
“It is not your place to judge me or your decisions on where to park. It isn’t your place to shame me the way you did. Don’t let today’s society make you think otherwise. I know shaming has become a huge part of our culture these days, but please, please, don’t do this to another person.”
As of this writing, Colleen’s post has been shared over 2,000 times.
[Featured Image by Polarpx/Shutterstock]