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Where is your handicap?

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    Where is your handicap?

    I saw a rant on facebook about a young guy who parked in a handicap spot and the person who posted it called him out on it and took a 3 second video of him walking. He told her he had a placard and she actually had the nerve to ask him where his handicap was! Wow, I'm embarrassed to admit that I actually liked this person back when I worked with her a few years ago.

    I understand that there are a lot of people who abuse handicap privileges, and he could have been one of them, but how can you prove it by taking a 3 second video of him walking? If you film me, I can walk just fine for short distances too. Does that mean I'm perfectly normal and there's nothing wrong with me? I wish! I also can't believe she had the nerve to ask him where his handicap was (this is a nurse, she should know better). I don't care if he was faking it or not, that was totally uncalled for. I think I'd blow up if someone asked me that.

    I can definitely say that having MS has been a huge eye opening experience. There were so many things that I used to be so opinionated about back when I was working full time, making more than enough money to support myself, and could do or buy anything I wanted. Now that I'm on the other end of the spectrum, it makes me realize how harsh my judgments were when I didn't know people's situations.

    Even in my most judgmental days, I never would have called someone out like my friend did, but I definitely would have thought the same as her. It definitely strikes a nerve, but I absolutely will not get involved in that. I will say though that when I got my handicap placard, people like her were why I was so afraid and embarrassed to use it. I really did need it, but for a while, I would make myself miserable and struggle all the way back to my car after going grocery shopping before I would take that handicap spot I was entitled to due to the fear of being called out by inconsiderate people who have no idea what it's like to live a day in my shoes.

    Most people who know me have no idea that there is anything wrong with me, and I will be keeping it that way as long as I can. If I'm ever asked where my handicap is, unless it is someone who sincerely wants to know about my situation, I will not disclose a thing. It's nobody's business but mine, and I absolutely would never explain myself to someone who doesn't deserve to know about it. Nobody else with an invisible handicap should have to explain that either.
    Diagnosed 1/4/13
    Avonex 1/25/13-11/14, Gilenya 1/22/15

    People need to mind their own business! Everything has a potential for abuse but your average person on the street is certainly no judge of this stuff.

    I have had dirty looks before when pulling into an accessible parking spot. Why? I don't know! It is like they already determined I am able-bodied before I get out of the car. And even when I do with a cane with horrible balance, they still watch me walk!

    And you are absolutely right that my eyes have totally been opened to issues of disability and how people just treat or think about others horribly. One positive about having MS is that I have learned so much about these issues whether they affect me or not.


      I dont drive due to MS but I had a passenger H/C permit (expired in 2012, not renewing it until I need to). It had my name/address on the back and was for me and any vehicle I was in.

      It was usually whomever was driving me around that got the dirty looks, likely due to the fact that the driver was not disabled... the passenger was!

      I would have popped anyone who questioned my use of it!

      RRMS 2005, Copaxone since 2007
      "I hope to be the person my dog thinks I am."


        My issues are with my left leg and left arm. I use a walker. Sometimes I drive, sometimes I ride with someone else, so I too have a removable handicap tag. I don't believe I have ever gotten dirty looks, but I am in the south, and most people don't give dirty looks down here. So, no problems here.

        I agree with Jen, bust them in the head if they give you any bull about it. There are lots of people who have handicap tags who get out of the car and walk. Who am I to judge, they might have MS, Lupus, Lyme, Cancer, Diabetes, or a whole line of invisible disabilities. Who am I to judge. Nope. Just smile and say hello.

        Happy disability travels everyone...

        Moderation Team
        Disabled RN with MS for 14 years
        SPMS EDSS 7.5 Wheelchair (but a racing one)


          Oh yes, I don't drive (never had a license -- never needed one) but have the passenger permit like you do. For some reason people still look at ME when we pull into a spot. I look really young for my age, but so what? My SO gets really peeved and shoots people a dirty look.

          And on the topic of people needing to mind their own business, my side of the street is where a bike lane is and almost every cyclist that has to wait for me to board an accessible transit vehicle (bus, cab or minivan) rings their bell (!!!!) or shoots us a dirty look. I've seen cyclists complain about this online too.

          Paratransit vehicles (in pretty much all cities) are allowed by city bylaw to load and unload in bike lanes and no stopping zones for safety reasons. I'm not sure what they want... to load and unload in the middle of the street where it is unsafe?


            My sister in law has a handicap tag due to a serious heart condition. She has an implanted defibrillator and will ultimately need a transplant. Her "handicap" is completely hidden - she looks perfectly healthy. I use a power chair full time, so mine is very visible. No one has the right to judge another, but if they do, they should keep quiet & definitely not confront the person as to what their handicap is.
            ~ Becky


              Originally posted by beckyd View Post
              No one has the right to judge another, but if they do, they should keep quiet & definitely not confront the person as to what their handicap is.
              If only.

              I cannot tell you how many times through the years I have been confronted.

              One person got in my face and was yelling at me and I have had an employee at a store walk out and tell me I can't park in HC. I also had a run in with a parent at my daughters school (quite a few years ago) as well as the assistant Principal. I could go on and on

              I have had mobility problems from the beginning (HC placard/plate since age 24). I must look good based on the comments, judging and yelling I have endured.
              Diagnosed 1984
              “Lightworkers aren’t here to avoid the darkness…they are here to transform the darkness through the illuminating power of love.” Muses from a mystic


                I have not had much of a problem with weird looks, my walking has not been normal for decades, long before my MS Dx.

                That said, I were confronted (not likely in my visible case) I think I world fire back (or to that effect) , or ask them to please tell my DOCTOR and give or offer them the docs name.

                Gomer Sir Falls-a-lot


                  Yes, everyone should mind their own business...I wish!

                  I have only been confronted only once. It was by a couple who thought at the time a 40 something did not have the need for a handicapped parking spot. I pulled out my cell phone and told them I was calling the police so that the proper authority could determine if I had the right to park in the spot or not.

                  They high-tailed it out of there very quickly, I then hobbled into the grocery store to do my shopping.

                  I would never back down to any of the self appointed handicapped police...not in my nature.
                  "Yep, I have MS, and it does have Me!"
                  "My MS is a Journey for One."
                  Dx: 1999 DMDS: Avonex, Copaxone, Rebif, currently on Tysabri


                    No one has confronted me (yet), just dirty looks and watching so far, but if that happens, you can be sure I'll give them heck!


                      I used to see a lot of this kind of discrimination growing up and until my Mom died a few years ago. She was always disable by another "invisible" disease and people constantly judged her lack of speed, her walk, and later her full time use of crutches and a scooter. They just assumed she was fat and lazy. I spent much of my life confronting such people when they went out of their way to share their opinions. So no, it's not something I've ever been too easily inclined to jump to judgement about, though I'm sure there's been a time or two when I did.

                      Despite this history, I have long past the point of being able to cope with conflict and will go to great lengths to avoid it. Problem is, I think I really should get a HC permit given my current condition, but I KNOW I would run into people pulling the same kind of garbage on me. I don't know how I'd cope with it as I'm fully aware that I look perfectly able bodied (at least so far), and I'm so already so very tired of defending my existence to others.


                        As well as my MS issues an chronic pain syndrome i am an amputee, who canno wear a prosthetic leg so i use a wheelchai- these days i do not drive but use a power chair but go back a few yrs i used to use a manual chair, i had a roof mounted wheelchair hoist on my car- i pulled into a library parking lot in the disabled spaces- i need the disabled space to allow the room for the hoist to unfold and lower my manual chair down to the side of the car, i would think most other car owners would not want me to unlaod my achir in a standard space or i may risk scraping the paint on their cars!

                        anyway, i was letting my cahir down then used a slide board to transfer to my chair, this slightly olderlady came running across the car park waving here walking stick at me! She was angry i got the space instead of her- when i pointed out i had a valid parking permit on show she accused me of using a fake or someone elses! when i asked her if my missing leg and the wheelchair were someone elses or fakes she said they did not matter, i was "TOO YOUNG" to need a dsiabled space! i was in my late thirties at the time!

                        It seemed her idea of disability was not related to actual disability, but more an issue of age. the space she parked in was only about 2 spaces further from the library entrance and the way she ran at me waving her stick, she actually did not seem as though she was so disabled an additional 2 spaces would be a big issue! Now usuallyi would not make such judgements on others, if they have the permit than thats ok even though we know ther are those who do misuse other family member permits, thats something we cannot do much about!

                        this lady honestly belived that the mere fact she was over 65 should mean that sh got first chance at the parking spot even if it had meant that i would have to had given up and gone home!! others had gathered around and i must admit i did not have to say anything else to her, the other people in the car park certainly made their thoughts well known, enough so that i almost felt sorry for her

                        these days i use an electric wheelchair and access cabs or public transport so i have not needed to use a permit for some yrs, but i still make sure i have one. I also have a bumber sticker on the back of my wheelchair that asks others to check the permit not the person!, it really is nothin about age or the type of disability, i know there are folk for instance who have severe continence issues and may needt the rest room real quick, they can get the permit, or those with angina or respiratory problems- less visible problems and as long as they have the permit thats fine- not for me to judge.

                        the only thing i would ask is that if a person with a walking disability finds that there is a standard space and a wider disabled place within the same disance to the building entrance, it might me nice to remember that those who use walkers, or wheelchairs need the additional space to safely get in and out of the car but obviously only if it will not make things tougher for them- here is south australia, as long as you have the permit on show, you get additional parking time wheterh it is a marked disabled space or not so from tha point of view there is no harm but that is up to the individuals personal assessment

                        ** Moderator's note - Post broken into paragraphs for easier reading. Many people with MS have visual difficulties that prevent them from reading large blocks of print. **


                          Education and compassion

                          As examples like this show, education is so important. We need to start close to home, with those with whom we have shared our diagnoses, and have them pass it on, as it were.

                          For me, I look perfectly healthy. Overall, I am glad about that, and feel very lucky for it. But sometimes it is difficult, especially when I am having a bad day or can't think for the pain or exhaustion.

                          Most irritatingly of all, my mother will say, "You look great. You have rosy cheeks." Most times I just let it go -- so I need to work on the education thing, but I don't feel the entry into it is easy w/o coming across as negative. I wish instead she would just ask how I feel, and let me tell her.

                          That guy could have been fine walking into the mall, but one hour later using every last iota of energy and concentration just to get back to the sanctuary of his car.


                            I have had plenty of nasty looks, but no one has said a word to me yet. However, if anyone is silly (rude enough) to make a comment they will have the wrath of a loud mouth Texas woman to deal with.

                            One thing that I found ironic is that my DH always refused to use my HC placard when I was in the car with him and now that he has earned his own HC plate he has no problem.


                              Originally posted by venice View Post

                              That guy could have been fine walking into the mall, but one hour later using every last iota of energy and concentration just to get back to the sanctuary of his car.
                              Years ago before my formal MS Dx; I went to a penny's store looking for a shirt. I only went to the one store, but before I got back to the entrance I used my legs had already turned into Gumby Stix. Even before I could make it back to my car, parked in a close H/C spot no less, I was SICK! (nearly lost all my lunch).

                              Now days I use a scooter for all but the smallest venues.

                              Gomer Sir Falls-a-lot