“Hey! You shouldn’t park there.”
As I made eye contact with the lady who told me this just a few hours ago, as I was lugging Joey and a cart full of groceries out of the store into my van at our local Shoprite, I could see the anger in her eyes.
I kindly tried to explain to her that the handicap parking pass hanging in the front window of my van is for my son, not me and that I had just put him in the car. She let out a snobby huff, rolled her eyes, and walked away… Rather than letting it get to me and boil inside and get myself angry, I decided to educate my readers and say to myself, “just keep swimming, just keep swimming…”
You see, the beginning of a regular trip to the grocery with Joey consists of me praying that Joey doesn’t get away from me & runs in front of a moving car, or decides to drop to his knees while walking across the parking lot and then even have to carry the over 50 pounds of dead weight he is and THEN hope that the Caroline’s Cart is available so I don’t have to lift him (and kill my back in the process) and squeeze him into the toddler seat of a regular grocery cart.
There are some outings I don’t have to use the pass. It all depends on how big the parking lot is and how many moving vehicles are around. If it’s a small parking lot, then no, I don’t use it.
Joey’s pediatrician suggested for us to get the handicap pass when I started having back problems from lifting him so much including carrying him through parking lots when he’s too stubborn to walk. He also has a hard time in the heat and gets fatigued easily so it’s a huge help in the summer time especially!
And some of you may wonder why I don’t wait till evening after the kids are in bed to go to the store. Well, Joey LOVES going out with me running errands. He’s like a little mayor of our town. Everywhere we go, someone knows him and he loves to say hi to people by waving and hoping they notice him. This gives him socialization skills with the public and having an Austic child, that’s huge!
There are other people like me who are also proud parents of special needs children who have the same struggles as me going to the store who have had the same type of thing said to them by complete and total strangers. There are also people who have hidden disabilities that require them to have a handicap pass themselves who have as well been singled out by strangers who think they know everything.
Sadly, yes, there are some people who take advantage of handicap passes. Some people hang on to their deceased loved one’s pass and take advantage of it, but let me assure you, the ONLY time I ever use the pass is when I have Joey with me. So please take his post as one from a mom trying to advocate for Joey and educate the public on hidden and visible disabilities and using a handicap pass.
I hope somehow the woman who I encountered today in the parking lot reads this and understands a little more. Also, think before you speak. Thank you! ♥