A much needed update to parking adventures. If you are interested in other parking adventures follow the link here.
My wife and I don’t have much time without our kids but we had a few hours to ourselves so we went to Trader Joes for some afternoon grocery shopping. Parking is always difficult on a Sunday afternoon and today was no different. I pulled into the parking lot hoping I would get lucky enough to grab one of the two accessible parking spaces. As I drove a second loop around the parking lot I told my wife I’ll drop her off by the door and wait for a spot to open. As she went out the door an older gentleman (I’ll call him gentleman now but it will shortly change) pushing a cart was walking out of the door. He walked right to the accessible spot and loaded his groceries into his car. Once he was done he left his cart in the hash marks (white zone that says no parking) and slowly walked to the other side of his car to get in. I of course quickly debated if I should talk with him about leaving his cart. The answer is always YES but be aware it will never turn out good.
I pulled behind the man’s car and called him to my window. I have learned to be pleasant as possible from the beginning. I let him know I was disabled and pointed to my wheelchair to show we somehow relate even though we live in two different worlds. I told him that when he leaves his cart where he did it blocks the spot from people who have van lifts and truck lifts like mine. I told him that we are a small community that is looked over by most. If he can do me and future people a small favor of returning his cart to the store or walk three spaces to the lot cart return area. This is where he went from a gentleman to a grumpy old man. The man angrily let me know that his cart was fine and it was not blocking anyone. His disability is so different from mine, because he can actually walk. My wheelchair life is out of sight, out of mind for this man. I again explained to him about adaptive equipment people use to get around even if they have a disability. He then told me he was disabled and was aloud to park at the spot and his cart isn’t blocking anyone. I explained the stripes on the ground and why they are there. He started screaming at me causing a scene. I thought that if he wanted a scene I would give him a scene so I started to laugh. It is universally known that laughing at someone who is upset only makes him or her extremely up set. It is true the man started yelling that he has been disabled for over 20 years and has a right to park in the spot he was parked in. I could do nothing but continue laughing at the whole situation.
I tried one last time to explain to him that he is aloud to use the spot but to be courteous to others. He then pulled the race card on me. As long as you are a human I believe you are equal to each other no matter race, sex, age, or ability level. Apparently because I spoke better English than him I was harassing him. The man spoke very clear English but I was breaking him. He knew he was in the wrong but couldn’t be an adult and admit it he was wrong. He then slowly got into his car and tried to back up. Of course, I wanted to give him a little taste of what I was about to go through so I didn’t move at all. I sat in my truck blocking him from backing out of the parking spot for a good two minutes.
Yes, I know I shouldn’t have done that but I was so frustrated I wasn’t inside the store shopping with my wife. This man, who was so selfish and immature got the best of me. I became just as immature as he was. It got so bad that every time he honked I honked back. As shoppers walked by on their way in and out of the store I told them that the man and me were good friends. This made some of them laugh which probably upset the man more. I finally moved and let him out.
Parking lot adventures happen daily for our community. As the population grows our elderly community grows. If you are reading this and use the accessible parking spots please return your carts to the store or use one of the very convenient return areas in the parking lot. These return areas are usually very close to the accessible parking spaces. If you are a person with a disability that uses mobility devices or vehicle equipment, be an advocate.
Photo courtesy Land 8