Handicap spaces didn’t mean a damn thing to me when I first began driving. They were just reserved spaces for the passive. I parked in them regularly when I was old enough to drive.
Then when I was 17, my father was in an accident that left him paralyzed from the waist down.
Within a few months the value of handicap spaces, and their purpose, became indelibly clear to me. I’ve not parked in one since, unless my father was with me.
But now I take exception when I see someone who’s clearly not handicap parking in those spaces. It’s an asshole move, plain and simple.
If it were up to me, the people who do so would be forced to spend at least a day without the use of their legs. They’d see how valuable those spaces are. They’d see what a nice “convenience” it is to have room to lay a ramp down to exit a vehicle.
But it’s not up to me. For the best, probably.
(Related note: If you were a student at Abilene Christian University from 1999-2003, and got a ticket for parking your car [typically a gigantic truck] in a handicap space – I’m the rat.)
There’s nothing I, or anyone else can do to prevent people from doing this. They’ll park in handicap spaces, and 99% of the time nothing will happen.
They won’t get a ticket or a boot.
There won’t be some angry cripple waiting to argue when they return to their vehicle.
The only thing I can do is ask.
Can you not park in a handicap space, if you’re not actually handicapped?
There are countless, perfectly open and legal spots 20 feet away. That isn’t very far.
You’ve got personal integrity. You have a sense of honor and what’s right. You’re a bad ass, most likely.
So why trade all of that for 20 feet?
There’s a time and place to break rules. There’s oppression you can tilt at all day.
Then, there’s selling yourself short for 20 feet in a parking lot.
There’s a time and place to think only of yourself.
Then there’s 20 feet in a parking lot that others need.
Worst case scenario is that there isn’t a parking space 20 feet away. Maybe it’s 200 feet away. And it’s raining. And you’re in a hurry.
That’s enough to make you feel like a victim. And victims certainly deserve handicap spots, right?
Wrong. You’re a bad ass with personal integrity.
Take the noble walk and leave the close spaces for the people who genuinely need them.