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A Stranger Left Her a Nasty Note. She Used It As an Opportunity.

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Sarah Metcalfe, from York, England, was making her way back to her car in the parking lot of a grocery store with her 13-year-old son when she found a note on her car, according to a post on her Facebook page.

A stranger, presumably someone who saw her park in the handicapped spot, left a note saying, “Being fat and ugly doesn’t count as disabled. Park elsewhere.”

Metcalfe, 35, lives with an invisible illness called fibromyalgia, according to Metro UK. Fibromyalgia is a chronic pain disorder that can cause fatigue and stiffness.

Although she did not have a pass to park in the handicapped space, Metcalfe was in a lot of pain that day and decided to risk it, she told The Mighty in a Facebook message. She had applied for one already and was waiting to receive it.

She posted the note to Facebook along with an open letter to the anonymous note leaver.


Her letter read:

Dear shopper in the Clifton Moor Tesco car park at 6:00 p.m. today, the 30th of April 2015, who decided to leave this hurtful note on my car.

I know I may not look ill, in fact I choose to smile rather than cry, but I do suffer from a long term condition that causes pain and fatigue all over my body and these symptoms are:

* Increased sensitivity to pain
* Fatigue (extreme tiredness)
* Muscle stiffness
* Difficulty sleeping
* Problems with mental processes (known as “fibro-fog”) – such as problems with memory and concentration headaches
* Irritable bowel syndrome (IBS) – a digestive condition that causes * stomach pain and bloating
* Feeling too hot or too cold – this is because you’re not able to regulate your body temperature properly
* Restless legs syndrome (an overwhelming urge to move your legs)
* Tingling, numbness, prickling or burning sensations in your hands and feet (paraesthesia)
* Anxiety and depression

Despite the fact that I work hard (I never take sick time), don’t claim disability benefits (not that it’s wrong for people that do) and I juggle work and family life, I was just having a bad and very painful day.

Please don’t be so quick to judge people by appearances. I fear one day you may say the same to someone and it could really push them over the edge. Luckily, I am open minded and know that appearances can be deceptive and that some people don’t know these things. But I would just like to say, if you’re reading this now, that it’s better to be kind than hateful. Quite frankly, you never know what kind of day a person is having and what the consequences of your actions will be.

I would be grateful if you are reading this if you could share so that there’s a chance this person reads it.

Thank you.
Sarah Metcalfe

Metcalfe has lived with eating disorders and low confidence in the past, according to Metro.

That note could have really pushed me over the edge,” she told the outlet. “That’s why I feel so strongly and have raised awareness of it.”

Since she posted the note to Facebook on April 30, it’s been shared over 3,000 times. Metcalfe hopes the letter will eventually be seen by the note’s writer so he or she can be educated on invisible illnesses.

h/t Metro UK

Clarification: The original version of this post did not include the fact that Sarah Metcalfe did not have a handicapped parking pass in her car window at the time this note was left. The Mighty later reached out to Metcalfe, who told us she did not have a badge at the time of this incident but was awaiting the one she’d already applied for.

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Fibromyalgia, a chronic illness with three main symptoms — widespread pain, chronic fatigue and cognitive trouble. Fibromyalgia is a complicated illness that’s not well understood. In the past, it was mischaracterized as a mental health disorder. Even today, some doctors wave off fibro symptoms as being “all in your head.” This isn’t the case. Read The Mighty’s comprehensive guide to fibromyalgia here. Click here to join our fibro community and connect with people who get it.

Originally published: May 7, 2015
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