Archived Story

A chance to be able-minded

Published 5:19pm Tuesday, October 22, 2013

We’ve all seen it: that certain someone who justifies parking in a designated handicap parking space because they’ll only be in the store for two minutes. We’ve watched that able-bodied person — granted, in a hurry — get out of their vehicle and walk into a store, the post office, a government building, you name it.

It’s not so strange that those “two minutes” become 10, 15, 20 minutes because we all know that everything takes longer than we think it will, generally.

But in those 10, 15, 20 minutes, while the “hurrying” person is inside obliviously shopping, they can’t see the driver of a handicapped vehicle cruising around the lot, looking for a space. If that vehicle is carrying a person in an electric, or even traditional, wheelchair, there is essentially nowhere for them to park where their passenger can get out. The vehicles fitted with electric wheelchair ramps need space. Because there’s no parking place available to them, now the driver of the handicapped vehicle must use the fire lanes to drop their passenger off, go find parking somewhere out there, then come back and find their passenger. Of course, that process must be repeated on the return trip to the vehicle. It’s time consuming, backs up traffic in front of the destination and can be nerve wracking for those leaving on their own, a person who may not be comfortable without their caregiver.

So for the able-bodied person who thinks parking in a handicap parking space is okay since they’ll only be taking up the space for a little while, take a moment and think a little harder. Put yourself in the shoes, or the chair, of someone who needs that parking place.

It doesn’t matter if that parking place is never filled whenever you happen by. It doesn’t matter if it’s only for “two minutes.” What does matter is being respectful of those with special needs and respectful of the law.

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