If You’re Not Disabled, Don’t Park There!
I’ve taken time off from blogging for the last few months because I was taking care of myself with my own self styled mental/emotional therapy. For fifty years my parents ran a “Mom and Pop” side street grocery store in my home town of Chisholm, Minnesota. To honor and remember them I have built from memory and a pitiful few photographs, a scale model replica of the store and the attached house. The project took the better part of two years and was completed yesterday Sunday November 1, 2009. When I get some pictures taken I will post them.
As to blogging, there is something that has bothered me for quite some time and that is the fact that there seems to be a great number of people using disabled parking illegally. As you know I had a heart transplant a little over two years ago. My new heart is working extremely well and if anything I have more energy than ever before. Unfortunately I have COPD (chronic oppressive pulmonary disease) which makes it extremely difficult for me to breathe. Almost any exertion leaves me out of breath so I have a disabled parking permit and use the spaces often. They are a Godsend when you can’t walk very far.
What disturbs me is the number of people who think the rules don’t apply to them and when it comes to disabled parking they fall into two categories, 1) those without permits that ignore the signs and 2) those that have permits that belong to someone else.
The first group is easy to deal with. If you see a vehicle in a disabled space that has neither special license plates nor a permit hanging from the rear view mirror, notify the authorities. In most cases there is at least a $250 fine for this deliberate violation of the law and of the rights of the disabled.
The second group is more difficult to deal with. I fully recognized that not every disabled person is in a wheelchair, I’m not so in many cases when I see people hang the tag on the mirror and walk to the store I ignore it. People deserve the benefit of the doubt. But, when I see people park, display the permit and then sprint across the lot into a store I get angry. Too many able bodied people use permits issued to friends or family members. I know of some people who are using permits that were owned by deceased relatives. How disrespectful can you be?
Many people who are awaiting transplants but are ambulatory need those spaces. They are not reserved for lazy people but rather for those who genuinely need to be close because they can’t walk very far. Many other people who are not transplant candidates also have very serious disabilities that require them to park as near to their destination as possible. Without disabled parking many people would be forced to either stay at home or face the danger of having to walk farther than they are physically capable of doing.
I was at an art show with my wife recently and I parked in one of the few disabled spaces that were available. Two burly guys in a pickup truck pulled in next to me in the space reserved for Vans for the disabled and began to sprint away. I rolled down the window and told them it was not a parking space and that they should move. They got quite belligerent and after several profanities and hand gestures they grudgingly moved — a half block away. I’ll bet the walk absolutely exhausted them.
You should do the same. Challenge people who park illegally, notify the authorities. The space they occupy may be the one you or a loved one will need someday.
Please comment in the space provided or email your thoughts to me at firstname.lastname@example.org. And – spread the word about the immediate need for more organ donors. On-line registration can be done at http://www.donatelife.net/index.php Whenever you can, help people formally register. There is nothing you can do that is of greater importance. If you convince one person to be a donor you may save or positively affect over 50 lives. Some of those lives may be people you know and love.
You are also invited to join Organ Transplantation Initiative (OTI) http://www.facebook.com/#!/group.php?gid=152655364765710 a group dedicated to providing help and information to donors, donor families, transplant patients and families, caregivers and all other interested parties. Your participation is important if we are to influence decision makers to support efforts to increase organ donation and support organ regeneration, replacement and research efforts.