Have you ever noticed when you park your car in a Disable Carpark people give you THE look as you get out of your car and walk without a walking stick or the use of a wheelchair?
After my car accident some 12 years ago which left me with a broken neck and back, I decided to buy a super safe car with cameras and extra airbags and I bought a Mercedes. Not only do I get the LOOK for parking, but another LOOK because I drive a Mercedes and surely people with a Mercedes and walking are just having a lend of society!
Just recently I was abused outside a Post Office for parking in the disability area. The guy was a lot bigger than me and I was pushed against my car, people around were just watching this. I opened the passenger door and took out the permit – ha! he said, people like you are just buying these things, it is all garbage Not THE word he used by the man if you get my drift) I closed the door and managed to walk away with no one helping. Returning back to my car 5 minutes later I was worried he might have taken a key to my car and accidentally mark my car, but I was lucky this time.
Another time, I was parking outside Dan Murphy and getting alcohol and returning to my car also gets a few comments – one guy saying I am not so incapable I can’t get wine – excuse me. I followed him to his 4WD – he was twice my size, and I said to him – “what did you say ” and he repeated it so I turned around and showed him my scar from my broken neck and back and said “see this mate, that’s why I park there”. He just mumbled and walked away – I was a bit angry at that point and blew up after getting so many people looking and making comments. Typing this makes me still angry…..best I have a red wine now.
Before I was able to drive again I had to visit doctors in Sydney – I was living in Kameruka just outside Bega on a farm and had to fly to Sydney each and every week for over 12 months. At the time I did look the part, with a neck brace, a broken arm in plaster and an eye patch over one eye and every time I crossed a street in busy Sydney, motorists would stop and let me take my time to reach the other side of the street.
After a while I was free of my eye patch, neck brace and plaster and when I crossed the street I was made aware I was treated and looked upon as a “normal” person and motorists were no longer patient.
To be honest, sometimes I wish I had something to show people to convince all is not well with me, but the majority of people are convinced if they can’t see anything wrong with me, I am really OK and I should just get on with it and get over it after all the accident I had was 12 years ago.
This is one of so many stories that are out there, those who have invisible disabilities and have horrible confrontations because people are not aware of others situations.
Thanks for submitting your story Philip, we hope with this awareness campaign you won’t have to keep telling these stories.