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20 Comebacks to Use If Someone Questions Your Disability Parking Pass

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Having a disability parking placard that allows you to park in accessible spaces is absolutely crucial for so many people in our chronic illness and disability community. And we all know that whether or not you qualify for one does not depend on if passerby can “see” that you are disabled. However, this message seems to have gotten lost among some people. Too often, those with invisible illnesses who don’t necessarily fit other people’s idea of what disability “looks like” are questioned and judged by people who assume they must have stolen the pass or “faked” their disability to get it. In reality, nothing could be further from the truth, and it’s pretty inappropriate for a stranger to confront you about whether or not you’re “faking.”

This isn’t to scare you away from using your parking pass — not everyone experiences judgment, and as long as you’re complying with all the legal guidelines of your pass, you should feel completely free to use it without shame. But if someone does confront you, sometimes in the moment it can be hard to know how to react. So we asked our Mighty community to share some “comebacks” and responses that can help you correct, inform, “shut down” or otherwise deal with someone who is questioning your disability parking pass. Of course, please use your best judgment if you’re in a potentially heated situation and stay safe. Let us know any other comebacks you’ve used in the comments below.

Here’s what our community shared with us:

  1. “‘Do I need to tape the X-rays of all the bone tumors scattered throughout my body to the pass so you can ‘see’ my disability or…?’” — Marie A.
  2. “‘You don’t look disabled…’ ‘Well, you don’t look ignorant!’ (That’s been my favorite neutral shutdown for a couple of years now.)” — Gabrielle L.
  3. “I don’t. I just smile and go about my business. I stopped caring a long time ago about what others think. Life’s too short and my time is too valuable to waste on intolerant people.” — Mindy C.
  4. “‘I would love to buy you a cup of coffee and explain why I need a [disability] placard. How much time do you have?’” — Heather R.
  5. “You gonna carry me from the other side of the parking lot? Oh, no? Then thanks but I think I’ll keep my vehicle parked here.” — Taylor R.
  6. “‘Actually, not all disabilities are visible. There are some great organizations out there working to raise awareness of invisible disabilities. Would you like to learn more?’” — Alia G.
  7. “‘Just because you don’t see my disability doesn’t mean it doesn’t exist.’ I had a security guard yell at me for taking an [accessible] spot and his argument was I was taking the spot from someone who really needed it… he made me cry! I can’t stand for very long nor can I walk far! I’m 28 and my disabilities may not be as noticeable to the general public but that doesn’t make them any less real!” — Amanda E.
  8. “I always plan to tell someone I will trade them my many many scars, bad heart with a pacemaker included, arthritis, joint dislocations and pain for the parking spot and pass anytime. Until they can cure my conditions though, they can mind their own business.” — Stephanie G.
  9. “Them: ‘You don’t look disabled!’ Them: ‘You can’t park there, you’re not disabled!’ Them: ‘You don’t look sick!’ Me: ‘Aww why thank you! My acting classes are paying off!’ Me: ‘Why thank you, I knew my makeup looked good!’” — L. Cat J.
  10. “‘You don’t look like you need a [disability] card.’ (Pulling my port tubing out to show) ‘I have multiple chronic illnesses and it’s between my doctor and me and none of your business.’” — Kristina K.
  11. “I don’t think I would have a nasty comeback ready. The best answer when people are questioning you is, ‘And why do you need to know that?’ I would probably just say, ‘I’m going to go do my shopping now and think about how to answer your question. Have a nice day…’ and keep walking.” — Renee M.
  12. “’That’s a really rude thing to say’ and I keep on keeping on.” — Fiance H.
  13. “‘It’s called an invisible illness, would you like to trade and take my constant pain for my parking spot?’” — Samantha F.
  14.  “‘Do you have X-ray vision? No? Then who do you think you are to tell someone with a disabled card that they aren’t disabled?’ That’s on days when I wasn’t just doing my best to keep going and get what I needed to done before I collapsed and before I gave up driving.” — Kathryn W.
  15. “‘Put down your gavel, your judgment is showing.’” — Rochelle H.
  16. “‘You don’t have enough time in your day for me to discuss every one of my diagnoses.’” — Llana H.
  17. “‘You don’t know me or my life.’ And then I’d probably cry a little when they weren’t looking.” — Sarah A.
  18. “‘Are you a police officer? No? Then it’s none of your business!’” — Jamie H.
  19. “‘Invisible illness. Educate yourself.’ Also ‘none of your business.’ And maybe add, ‘I’ll take that as a compliment, I thought I looked like a zombie today’ if I could be bothered.” — Tara B.
  20.  “I’ve told a couple of them, ‘Would you feel better if I took my shirt off so you can see the scars up and down my spine from my countless back surgeries, or how about if I pull my leggings up to see the scars from the surgeries there?’ Altogether I’ve had around 30 surgeries, and with me being 27, many people think it’s their right to make comments like that.” — Shannon P.
Originally published: March 22, 2018
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