Grand Rapids, MI - Never judge a book by its cover, right? A quadriplegic man discovered a nasty note on his BMW from a disbelieving passerby who assumed that the car was driven by an entitled twentysomething.
Matt Milstead, 36, parked in a handicapped spot outside of a YMCA in Grand Rapids where he was playing a game of wheelchair rugby. When he returned, he found an anonymous note left in the door handle of his BMW.
"I would love to see your wheelchair!" crowed the note. "I'm guessing male 25-35 years professional who thinks he's got the world by the ass. But I could be wrong."
Oh, the note's author was very, very wrong indeed.
Milstead said that he was both surprised and confused by the missive.
"I was kind of puzzled why he would leave this note and never met me, didn't know if I was in a wheelchair or not, but he just assumed I was just someone who tried to steal a close and convenient spot," he told WoodTV.
But his wife, Leslie, was infuriated by the note and decided to do something about it.
"It's kind of ironic the guy was trying to right a wrong. He assumed some jerk had parked in a handicapped spot that shouldn't be, and so he was really trying," she said. "He probably felt like a good person and thought he was doing a good thing, but the problem is he was wrong," she said.
She wrote a Facebook message to the note's author, saying:
"You were so close on the age, he's actually 36, and he is a professional with a full time job.Later on in the message, she said that Matt "just shakes his head at people like you who leave notes on his car. Trust me, you aren't the first. Ignorance is everywhere."
"He is also a quadriplegic, which for him means that he can no longer move his legs or his fingers in either hand. He has no grip.
"So, if you are willing to give him your functioning hands and legs for the rest of your life in exchange for his 6-year-old BMW and handicapped parking pass, I'm sure he'd make that trade.
"Why are you so confident that a handicapped person couldn't be a hard worker who is successful and owns a nice vehicle?"
She concludes by calling on the person who wrote the note to look Matt up on Facebook so that he/she can see "lots of pictures of that wheelchair you had questions about."
Facebook users who picked up on her post were shocked by the incident.
"There are more people that think this way than you would believe," wrote one user.
"Well said that was an amazing response, there should be more people like you in this world advocating for those in wheelchairs like myself. Just like Matt I just shake people like that off, but well done!!" wrote another.
Leslie also said that the anonymous note wouldn't have had the desired effect on its intended victim anyway.
"It's not going to stop those people that are abusing it [handicapped parking spots]. And the damage is done when it gets to someone that really deserves to be there," she said.
You can watch a video report on Matt Milstead's BMW note here.