Let there be no question.  This guy was in a hurry.

He whipped into the parking place nearest the entrance of Harris Teeter, jumped out of his luxury SUV, flung the driver’s door shut, and strode majestically into the store.

He had parked in a space reserved for handicapped drivers.  It was well marked with a wheelchair logo painted blue on the pavement, plus a sign on a post.  It was the last remaining handicapped space available.

The problem was that no handicapped parking permit was visible anywhere in or on his car.  I do not know what the man’s urgent errand was and I don’t need to know.  That’s his business.  But, that he apparently thinks it is OK to cheat a disabled driver out of a parking space near the entrance of a public building should be of concern to all of us.

Someone I know well has been disabled since childhood.  She needs a cane or crutches to walk.  She is entitled to use her handicapped parking permit. Sometimes, she must settle for a more distant space because all of the handicapped spaces are full.  Let’s hope that those drivers have legitimate parking permits.

The time was I would confront drivers who were illegally in handicapped spaces.  But, I’ve grown tired of their profanity-laced responses.  Some of them simply laugh, point to their head, and make a comment like “it’s OK, I’m handicapped up here.”

Do they actually think that’s funny?

To those who park where they shouldn’t, here is a suggestion.  Be thankful that you are not entitled to park in that convenient spot, that you are able bodied, and could easily tolerate a longer walk to the front door.  And lead the handicapped parking spaces to those who truly need them.

— Raleigh Mann


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