Handicap (or Rockstar) Parking has been taking up print space in the daily newspaper these days. A writer for the Winnipeg Free Press "monitored" a shopping mall handicapped parking space for a day, and the results were published this past week-end. The "Spy" made note that many people who parked in the blue stalls, "appeared able-bodied". Yesterday, the letters to the editor focused heavily on what is right and what is wrong about Rockstar parking...and Rockstar parking permits.
One particular letter to the editor from yesterday stands out in my head...no wait...two of them do. One woman had the audacity to suggest that Handicapped parking is only necessary in front of pharmacies and doctors offices. If a person who requires a handicap pass is able to "peruse" the aisles of Wal-Mart, then said person does not need to park in a designated handicapped parking space.
Another letter was from a woman who is eight months pregnant, and has two small children. In Winnipeg, as I'm sure is the growing case in many major cities, families with small children, and expectant mothers share the "privilege" of priority parking close to the store doors (permit required) in designated pink parking stalls. This particular mother is upset by cars with handicapped passes parking in pink stalls! Her argument is based on the school yard philosophy of "you can't have mine if I can't have yours".
"I am assuming that the handicapped spots are taken, so those with these permits feel that they can park in the mother/expectant parking. I find it completely frustrating as I end up parking at the end of a very full parking lot with two young children."
***I am writing this with absolutely no embellishments. I have not written this with editing designed to entertain you...people actually think like this...and have the guts to go public!***
Wow. So instead of focusing on the misuse of the blue stalls, and blue permits, these people have zoned in on the "necessity" of the spots in general, and want to share their parking woes as an able-bodied person! They have made it personal.
I found it discouraging that a disability is often still considered to be a "physical" impairment (as the writer pointed out in a number of situations, the driver and passengers appeared to be able-bodied...so therefore must be abusing the permit). One reader suggested that only individuals with wheelchairs and walkers should be given permits. Is she suggesting a Disability hierarchy?
I don't doubt that permits and stalls are abused. Like so many other things, society continues to push the boundaries; rules are for everyone else. We squeeze through that extra car on a turning arrow; we have 16 items in the express check-out instead of 12. I'm not surprised that blue stalls are misused.
As a "periodic" user of Rockstar parking, I am scowled at and likely whispered about. I don't consider handicapped parking to be a "perk". I don't think that it is my "right" to park in the spot closest to the door. But I appreciate the opportunity to make my trips out in the shopping world a little easier, and a little safer.
And I'm sure that the mom of two plus one on the way appreciates the opportunity to make her trips a little easier, and a little safer.
But don't we all want that?
I wonder what the woman who feels that handicapped spaces are for pharmacies and doctors offices thinks about the pink stalls.