I was recently reminded of a funny story from my college days. The exact details that led up to the event are lost to me, but basically I was out with my dear friend and college roommate and needed to run into the grocery store. We had a handicapped parking plackard (she had a particularly nasty pinched nerve in her back one semester), and I pulled the car into a handicapped space. Now, maybe she was finishing a call, a smoke, or just decided at the last minute not to come in, or perhaps I was slightly abusing the handicapped sticker…but at any rate, a perfectly healthy looking me popped out of the car, alone, and headed into the store.
As I walked away, according to my friend who remained in the car, a family walked alongside the spot.
“Well, look at him!” said the mother, “Thinks he can park wherever he damned well pleases just cause he’s driving a Lexus.” One of her daughters tugged at mom’s sleave and pointed out that there was someone in the car who could clearly hear her.
“I don’t care! Let ’em hear me.”
When I returned to the car a few minutes later, I’m not sure why the story incensed me so much…but as my friend retold it, the family walked out of the store. I went into action, putting the car in drive and pulling up right alongside them
“Ma’am.” I said. And she swiveled back to look at me. Her husband muttered, “Oh shit.” and kept on walking.
I showed her the plackard. “I just wanted you to know that we DID have a handicapped sticker.” Her little girls’ jaws dropped.
“Well you don’t look handicapped to me!” What did we have here? A doctor, no doubt able to make diagnosis from across a parking lot!
“I can assure you I am. And not that it’s any of your business, but I’m handicapped from the same accident that killed my family, and it was the insurance money I got from that accident that allowed me to buy this Lexus.”
The little girls were horrified.
I continued. “Just wanted you to know so you’d sleep well tonight.”
“Oh I’ll sleep just fine!” she started, her voice raised. She tried to continue.
“No, no.” I said, raising my hand to her. “That’s all!” And I drove off.
So what if she might have been sort of right? I hope the little parking lot incident taught her horrified little girls not to be nosy and presumptious.