Why I’m Thanking the Woman Who Chased After Me When I Used Handicapped Parking

Dear Random Woman,

Thanks so much for chasing me down to my salon after I parked and chiding me for parking in a space that “actual handicap people could use” — all while I was getting my eyebrows done.

Thanks for giving me the perfect opportunity to show you my heart monitor and explain my heart condition and why my doctor prescribed me a handicapped placard so I don’t pass out. Yet you still tried to argue after this because I “look healthy.”

Thanks for giving me an opportunity to show grace and grow in patience, but also speak truth and stand up for myself.

But overall, thank you for giving me a reason to speak out.

I’m sick of being quiet about this. You actually said what I believe a lot of people are silently thinking when I’m in a wheelchair at the airport, when I have to lie down when I don’t feel well and when I have to use handicapped parking so I can actually go to church. The only thing that can match how poor I feel on a regular basis is the feeling of dozens of people staring at you, wondering if you are “faking it.”

Thanks for also giving me the opportunity to share why judging people with disability stickers or people in wheelchairs who “look healthy” is not OK. Just because I don’t have a cane or am not “obviously” disabled doesn’t mean I’m any less so.

Our jobs aren’t to judge whether someone has a legitimate illness or disability — that’s a doctor’s job. So everyone, let’s be kind to each other. The world will be a much better place for it.

The Mighty is asking the following: Write a letter to anyone you wish had a better understanding of your experience with disability, disease or mental illness. If you’d like to participate, please send a blog post to [email protected] Please include a photo for the piece, a photo of yourself and 1-2 sentence bio. Check out our Submit a Story page for more about our submission guidelines.

Lead photo source: Thinkstock Images

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