Sunday, August 21, 2005

Wheelchair Parking

Today I went to Zellers to pick up a few things (I don't have a car anymore and no insurance, so my dad drove me). For those of you who aren't Canadian, you probably have never heard of Zellers. I believe that it is simply a Canadian version of K-Mart (though we used to have a K-Mart here too, it closed down several years ago).

Now, as we were leaving, a car pulls up into one of the parking spaces clearly marked off with a sign and a painted symbol on the pavement. It is definately a parking space for those who are handicapped (sorry if this isn't the right term to use, my appologies to all). This is a spot reserved for those who use a wheelchair or walker; those who have difficulty walking.

We drove slowly past and watched the driver put up the little card "thingy" that hangs from the rearview mirror. He was letting everyone know that it was "ok" for them to be there. As we continued to drive, shock of all shocks (NOT!) he got out and walked into the store. No wheelchair, no walker, no limp, no cruches...walked as good as anything.

What really irks me, is that those spots are specifically designed for those who can not walk, or have trouble in getting around. Out of 1000 parking spots, there are probably only 8-10 wheelchair spots. Now, I don't have any clue if these numbers are right, but you get my drift...there are a FAR greater amount of regular parking spaces compared to the wheelchair ones. I remember being with a couple of friends and going to the mall one day. The one driving says "It's not fair that there is so many parking spots for wheelchairs." I said "Oh yeah, look at how many regular parking spots there are in comparison and tell me now if you think there are too many spots for people in wheelchairs." That shut her up. She was just annoyed that she couldn't park as close to the door as she wanted...

Have people become so lazy that they can't walk the short distance...or even a long distance from their car to the store? We who can walk should be thanking God and praising Him that we can do this simple feat! But what can we do about this, short of placing an anonymous (or even signed) note on the windshield of the cars belonging to those who park in those spots when they shouldn't? A letter in the public opinion of the newspaper might get read by all, but I doubt that would do anything either. What can we do? Park where we should be parking, and not where we shouldn't be.

So, my post today is directed at those who park in parking spots they shouldn't be in. So what if you have one of those hangy things for your rearview mirror. If you do not have anyone in the car with you (and you can walk fine), or the person who is wheelchair bound STAYS in the car, you should NOT be taking up that space. You can walk. Go to a regular space. If you park there just because you are "only going to be a couple of minutes in the store", park in a REGULAR space. It doesn't take a rocket scientist to figure this one out! What is so important about getting that first parking space? If it is a regluar spot, fine, go for it. But leave the wheelchair parking for those who need it!

Like I said, God gave us two feet and a heart beat...use them. Be thankful that you can walk. Just think of those who can't walk and would give almost anything to be able to do so. There are so many parking places we can park in, and so few that those who can't walk have. Don't take that away from them.

Remember, the Bible tells us to treat others the way we want to be treated. If you were in a wheelchair or using a walker, would you really want someone who wasn't in one parking in a place designated for you? I doubt it.

10 comments:

Jess411 said...

Yeah!! Teacher's shouldn't get priveledged parking just so they can get to work five minutes before class starts while the rest of us get to school an hour early just to FIND a spot..

oh wait..wrong parking subject!

LOL

Really Shelley, I'm with you. Even my friend Cody (who could have a parking hangy thing if he wanted) won't use one because someone might need it more than he does.

Suzii said...

I agree with you Shelley. You have a good post here. You might have a problem with my husband though. He has one of those hangy things. It is always on our dashboard. He is not in a wheelchair, nor does he use a walker. He has trouble breathing when he walks long distances since his heart transplant. He has not quite bounced back to being 100%. But... praise God... he is still able to walk! He needs to park closer to the doors though. So not ALL people necessarily are in wheelchairs. I agree with you wholeheartedly though. Those who have them... that really don't need them... and use them anyways... (They make my husband and I both very upset). What I can't stand... are the people who park there WITHOUT a hangy thing... just so they can run in and run out!!! My husband always leaves notes...and... given the chance... would write them a ticket if he could! ;)

Darlene said...

My parents have a pass because my mother can't breath well enough to walk long distance. But when I borrow the car, they try to convince me to use the pass. They say, "You have the right to park there, we're registered, just use the pass." I would never, I'd be so embarrassed and I'd be taking a handicapped persons spot. Argh!

pia said...

those kinds of people are really irritating. it's just so sad because, these people do exist.

Shelley said...

Suzii and Darlene, yes I wholeheartedly agree with the cases of your husband (Suzii) and mother (Darlene). They have breathing problems and it is understandable. There are some, like them, who I would not have a problem with parking in those spots. Unfortunately, I think we (myself included) don't think that someone not in a wheelchair or with a walker might have a breathing problem.

I guess my rant is directed soley to those without any problem at all who take away those parking places.

Cudos for those like Cody who could use the spots but don't. Cudos also for those who have access to the hangy things (because of someone in the family legitimately needing them) and don't abuse it.

Zoanna said...

You go, girl! I share your passion about the subject. The comments also made me think twice about those with breathing problems. I rarely think about that when I'm not 8 months pregnant. Do you think we could tell store management when we see HC spot violators? Or might they turn the other way to keep from offending an offending customer?

Paula said...

I totally, totally agree with you! Sometimes I think they give those out too easy. Hey, have you seen the parking spaces for pregnant women? Whazzup with that? Most pregnant women need exercise and if they're close deliver, a walk might help induce! Thanks for the commnet at my site today!

Bonnie Calhoun said...

I like the post Shelley. I too, view violators of HC parking with distain. I once reamed out an obviously healthy looking person for taking a space and not displaying a hangy thing. He smiled sweetly at my tirade as he unbuttoned his shirt to show me that he was recovering from open heart surgery and was waiting for his permit to come.....color me embarassed! Wal-mart has a whole prego section......they'd better be ready to pop when I see 'em or my big mouth will get me in more trouble. I never learn!

Nettie said...

I could probably get a handicapped sticker, too, I had one after my knee surgeries. But I won't, cause I'm still young and why should I take up a spae when I can at least walk?

purple_kangaroo said...

I agree with your vent about people who take up handicapped spaces when they don't need them. But please remember that not all handicaps are easily visible. I suffer from a health condition that can cause severe pain, fatigue and weakness. I nearly ended up in a wheelchair because of it, but you wouldn't be able to tell by looking at me or even watching me walk how excruciating and difficult taking even a few steps was.