October 5, 2011

Spirit of the Law vs. Letter of the Law

A while back at Shriners, I high-fived a teenager wearing a t-shirt with a wheelchair symbol that said "just in it for the parking". I thought it was hilarious. After all, that kid and Bertrand are obviously NOT in it for the parking. Both would gladly give up the parking "privilege" in a heart beat (heck, make that "gladly park in the furthest possible parking spot forever") in exchange for the ability to walk!

Sadly, it appears that some people really are "just in it for the parking".

At Bertrand's school, some grandparents (with disability placards) are taking up the only 2 accessible spots--right next to the wheelchair ramp. They just sit in their cars, waiting for their able-bodied grandkids to walk to their car. Or sometimes they get out and walk (no cane, walker or wheelchair necessary) to sit under a tree and read their books. They get there early enough to take any of the first row spots, but choose to take up the only two accessible parking spots in the lot.

They've beat me there at least 6 times now.

I've had to park 3 rows back and weave Bertrand through the crowded lot, with Victoria strapped to my chest. Then leave him unattended at the back of the car, exposed to traffic because there is no room to pull him up next to our minivan while I unstrap Victoria. (Thank goodness it isn't snowing yet!)

I've wheeled Bertrand sloooowly past them--so they've seen who they are screwing over.

The principal has gone out and spoken with them.

They are still parking in the spots.

It is their "right". And, they are correct.

But, it is a blatant disregard for the spirit of the law in favor of the letter of the law.

I go out of my way to avoid parking in van accessible spots (and accessible spots period) if there is decent parking available--so it will be available for others who need the spots. I never park in accessible parking unless Bertrand is with me AND getting out of the car. It took until I was 7 months pregnant with Victoria, hauling an almost 40-pound Bertrand AND a 50-pound wheelchair before I broke down and got the disability placard. I would never, ever abuse it.

This situation with the school parking blows my mind.

That said, the school (administration, teachers and aids) have been fantastic. Everyone has been helpful and they've come up with a solution for Bertrand: his own parking spot.

It is sad that it has come to this.

Maybe some day in the future, those people who currently park and sit in the accessible spots will be so old that they actually won't be able walk anymore. They'll be wheelchair-bound, needing to get somewhere. It'll be snowing--but all the accessible spots will be taken. And then they will have to park at the far end of the parking lot.

Maybe then they'll understand.


  1. I really hate the sense of entitlement and selfishness that most people seem to have. It is sad and shameful. I'm glad that B is getting his own spot, though. At least it will make it easier for you and safter for him!

  2. I agree and this is horrible that it is happening with you. I am confused though about a few things. If it is happening on school property and these people aren't handicapped, how is it 'their right' to park in a spot? I will admit, I am not proud of this, but one day over 10 years ago ( was late to my college class. I know about handicapped parking and don't have a sticker. There were several handicapped places in our shuttle parking lot so I took one so I wouldn't miss my class. (I know I was wrong, please don't flame. I Learned my lesson and won't do again.)

    Anyway I was gone an hour, 90 min tops and I got a ticket (deservedly) while I was away. My uncle was using my grandma's car a few years ago. She has a sticker and wasn't with him. He got a ticket also cause he thought since he had the sticker he could still park there.

    My question is, why doesn't the school call the police or why don't you? I can understand not wanting to cause trouble with these people and it's good he's getting his own parking spot, but it is wrong for these people to take a spot that should be going to you, especially when you have both kids with you!

  3. The people waiting in their cars at the accessible parking spots, while capable of walking, DO have disability placards. Sorry if that wasn't clear!

    I feel conflicted because I don't want to confront anyone OR seek special treatment (like a personalized parking spot) for Bertrand. I simply want to see my kid go to school--with minimal hassle.

    Some days it feels like that is asking for the world.

  4. Glad you were able to get the parking situation resolved. Don't worry, someday they will understand.

    BTW, I understand ur frustration! I have a placard too, because I use a cane (sometimes my ds, a wheelchair). There is no end to the frustration of seeing people using the handicapped spots as pick-up/drop off spots!

  5. oh my gosh...those grandparents are unbelievable!!!! and the fact that they know they are taking his parking spot is EVEN worse! But, I am glad Bertrand gets his own!

  6. Yea!!! for Bertrand's own parking spot!!!