By Luther Hollis
I recently got a ticket for parking in a handicap spot. The problem I have with the citation is the fact that there were still other handicap spots available which means there was ample space for someone who was really handicapped or one of the fakers who have a handicap mirror hanger with no handicap at all.
I should have known better but…
Yeah, I said it: There are fake handicap people who “prolong” their handicap qualification and get away with parking in handicap spots. Are un-handicapped people being unfairly discriminated against when snagging a “blue spot?” I say we are.
Before you get irate with me and say, “(gasp) How dare you!” let’s get real. Many of us who drive have parked in the “blue spot” at one point in time during our lives.
The scenario was this: I parked in the handicap spot while picking up my daughter at 5:20 p.m. from an after-school program at which she volunteers. The program is at an elementary school and I picked her up at off-peak hours.
It just so happens that the officer who wrote the ticket was picking his child up as well and decided, “Hey, let me ruin somebody’s day.”
Coming from a busy and physically demanding day, I was tired and didn’t feel like walking the longer distance from the regular parking spots that were across the street. There are a total of four handicap spots, and realistically they are never occupied all at once.
Here’s my argument: Rosa Parks was tired too and sat in the front of the bus that was sectioned off for whites only. This incident became known as one of the greatest moments of civil rights history. Sure she went to jail, but she made a point of the injustice directed toward black Americans (which was not her intention; she was just plain tired).
Popular sentiment says that handicapped individuals do not want to be seen as different and “special,” so treat them as equals. I am not being insensitive to their situation, and it seems to me that $250 for occupying a parking space is a little extreme, especially when there were other handicap spots available.
As long as I didn’t take the only handicap spot available (which I would never do), I don’t think there was a violation. It’s not like a caravan of handicapped drivers was going to pull in at any second.
I have noticed people who have handicap license tags or rearview mirror hangers, but seem to have no handicap whatsoever. It seems that there is a large amount of handicap fraud being overlooked by the authorities. Maybe I should just use a close friend’s blue hanger too.
That is a fake limp
Some people might have been deemed handicapped at one point, but true “handicapism” (per Merriam- Webster) constitutes a visible sign of physical disability. I rarely see that as the case when noticing the occupants of the handicap spots.
I have seen people park in a handicap spot and jump out of their vehicle at a sprinter’s pace. Sure enough they had their good ol’ blue handicap hanger dangling from the rearview mirror. If a police officer saw that, I bet you the $250 that I need to pay my ticket that nine times out of ten, the officer would do absolutely nothing.
No, I’m not jealous of the people who “get away” with blue space parking (maybe just a little); I am however, frustrated by the lack of consistency displayed by law enforcement.
Attention local law enforcement
Mr. Officer, just keep an eye open for those people who park in the blue spots and jump out of their vehicle skipping to the tune of “Zip-A-Dee-Doo-Dah” running through their head. Bust them like I got busted; be consistent in your law enforcement.
It is not right that people who abuse the handicap privilege make off like bandits at Publix. I would very much like to park in one of the ten empty blue spots instead of walking a mile for milk and eggs.
That about wraps up this installment of my recent life observances, and I promise you that I will not be parking in any more blue spots. Parting with my $250 kind of stinks.
Do you have something on your mind about PBA or the surrounding community? Write a letter to the editor and send it to firstname.lastname@example.org.