When you question whether a person should be using a handicap accessible parking spot, you should intimately know them. That is the moral of Matt Milstead's story. When Milstead returned to his car, which was parked in a handicap accessible spot in a YMCA parking lot, he found a note stuffed into the door handle of his car that read, "I would love to see your wheelchair. I'm guessing male 25-35 years professional who thinks he's got the world by the ass. But I could be wrong."
Indeed, the author of that note could not have been more wrong. Milstead is quadriplegic. He is unable to move his legs or his fingers, and he has used a wheelchair for almost two decades. In an exposé on 24-Hour News 8, the anchors express their disbelief that someone in a wheelchair would ever be questioned for needing a handicap accessible parking spot.
However, it is important to recognize the myriad conditions for why a person not in a wheelchair might need to use handicap accessible parking spots. In fact, many people who don't use any sort of visible walking aids like canes or walkers might need such resources. Rheumatoid arthritis (RA), for example, can cause immense pain in one's feet. While a person with RA might not outwardly display any symptoms or use visible aids, easy access to handicap accessible parking spots to cut down on walking can make a big difference.
The next time you're angry because you think somebody is "conning the system," consider their position. Perhaps, as was Milstead's case, they are in a wheelchair. If you see them and they appear completely able-bodied, perhaps they have an illness that you cannot see or with which you are not familiar. Having access to a closer spot is necessary.
Most importantly, don't leave them a passive-aggressive letter on their car.