Yesterday I felt the need to speak up in my neighbourhood’s Facebook group on a picture that someone posted of a car parked in a no parking zone with an accessible permit. It really upsets me to see this sort of public shaming, and I’ve seen it before on this group, so this time I felt I needed to get involved. I really tried to make people see reasons why someone may need to park there, but most of them didn’t seem to want to hear the other side of it. A lot of people are quick to assume that those who use these permits are often “taking advantage” of having one. I just want to assure everyone that it’s not a fun perk to have to use one of these permits. I can’t say I’ve ever met someone excited to need it. Sometimes people need to park as close as possible to the location they are going, that is the point of the permits. That is why it’s legal to park in a no parking zone in Toronto with one. I understand there have been instances where people are using someone else’s permit, or no longer need theirs and choose to use it anyways, which I agree is wrong, but we cant just decide that that is the case all the time!
It really upsets me to feel like I need to constantly stand up for myself and other people using accessible parking permits for a very valid reason. I mentioned in my comment that this is a group of people who are constantly having to convince people of the validity of their disability. Especially if they aren’t using a wheelchair, or other mobility aid. It’s easy to look at someone and judge them, and think you know what’s going on in their life, but you don’t. I’ve had times where I felt that we’ve parked close enough and I’d able to go into the store quickly without my cane for example, but I know I’ll be getting dirty looks and judgment from people who have no right to judge me, so I bring my cane anyways.
I guess this post is just me venting, I want people to understand that there is a large spectrum of disabilities, some of which are invisible and all of which are valid.
Let’s not just assume someone is abusing the system that was put in place to help them.