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To the Person Who Judged Me for Parking in a Handicapped Spot

“Must be nice.”

Some jerk sneered to me as he walked past our van parked in a handicapped spot. Our placard hung on my rearview mirror.

I paused with my boys for a minute. Our youngest son looks typical on the outside, but this jerk rudely reminded me how often we’re judged by appearance alone.

Since my son’s diagnosis, I’ve learned to let jerks be jerks, and that is pretty nice to realize.

My family knows another child who can’t walk and needs a wheelchair, so I always refuse to take the last handicapped stall in case someone else needs it more than we do. Yes, by the grace of God our disabled child can walk, and that is so very nice.

Still, we have to watch him every second when we’re in a parking lot or he’ll walk right into a car’s path because he doesn’t understand the danger. But he is a toddler, so he’s easy to carry around, and that is nice right now.

My family knows another child who spends most of his days in the hospital fighting for his life, and we think of him and his family every day. Meanwhile my family is healthy, and we never take that for granted. Yes, that is nice too.

My family knows another child who has so many seizures that he has to wear a helmet and gets uncomfortable stares. Our child hasn’t had seizures yet, but it doesn’t mean we’re safe. For now, that is nice.

My family also knows too many other children who are fed through a tube for every meal, every day. Our child can eat normally without any restrictions. We’re fortunate, and that is nice.

My child looks like any other child until you watch him move or you say something to him and you realize he’s not paying attention. But he has my wife’s blue eyes and people say that he’s handsome. That is always nice to hear.

On the way into the store I heard that same jerk who made that rude comment to me tell the person he was with to “shut up.” Our disabled child may never talk, but he’s found other ways to communicate with us. Yes, that is so nice.

I wonder — did that jerk even appreciate that he woke up today? We know of too many children like ours who just didn’t wake up one morning. My family is grateful every single day when our youngest son wakes up. Every. Single. Day. My God, that is nice.

I wonder — would that jerk really want to trade places with me just so he could park closer to the store’s entrance? I know I would never trade places with him for all the money in the world.

And that is the nicest thing of all.

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