Tuesday, July 7, 2009

Who is Disabled?

This post is more negative than I like, but I am going to publish it anyway as it is all true and needs to be aired. Otherwise the pressure builds and...ooooh Rusty!


Lately, for some silly reason, I have been more sensitive to handicap issues like access via ramps, parking spaces, and bathroom stalls. The major gripe issue is the entitlement able-bodied people feel in using disabled resources.

While on our trip to Hannibal MO, I found this to be the case in many places we went. Both times while trying to access a larger handicap stall at Hartsfield-Jackson Atlanta International Airport it was unavailable due to my fellow inconsiderate able-bodied human beings. I waited at least 10 minutes for one while a man and his son enjoyed the spacious accommodations on our outbound flight. Coming back I found another man camped for at least that long while I waited and wondered if I would make my boarding time. He would not look me in the eye when he left.

You need to look someone in the eye to have a conversation.

Once in St. Louis we took the Hertz shuttle over to their rental parking lot. Jennifer obtained our car inside the office, as the counter in the airport was understaffed. I waited for a while with her, but after negotiating another too-small handicap bathroom, I scouted for a handicap parking space so we wouldn't have to lug the luggage to a stall. I had just looked out to the right (building left from main door) when Sweetness and Light, a.k.a. Jennifer came out and motioned we had to go to the left.

I was looking for a ramp when I spotted the Hertz yellow-and-black Viper squatting in a handicap stall. It had neither a handicap plate nor placard and was partially blocking the ramp and access corridor. As we plodded along to our rental, Jennifer with two rolling suitcases and my laptop, me with a backpack and crutches in hand, I found my usual patient self beginning to slowly broil and blister. In hindsight I should have gone in and directly confronted the management.

Ah hindsight, thy name is politician.

We had a full sized car which I thought I'd be able to stow my wheelchair in the trunk and have plenty of room for family when we reached Hannibal. The trunk was cavernous but I, popping buttons off my shirt as my massive chest muscles expanded in cartoon-like fashion, found it very awkward to load the wheelchair sitting on the bumper while Hertz employees across the way twiddled their thumbs. I managed to cut my left arm a little in the process as the bright red cherry on the sour cake.

Jennifer makes the command decision to go upgrade to an SUV. (Jennifer is a smart woman.) She comes back with a pleasant Hertz employee who cheerfully assists us and we are on our way, but first I stop and take the above pic. Hertz recently sent Jennifer a customer satisfaction survey, which she forwarded to me to answer. No response from Hertz yet which amazes me.

Shocked, really.


I could go on and on (and probably have) but you get the idea. Before you take further advantage of someone who is disabled - in that they have already suffered enough - please show some decency and consideration and leave their resources alone. As the population ages there will be more disabled people than ever. You could easily be indirectly responsible for a cardiac person's death if they have to navigate across a hot parking lot because you decide to take their slot out of sheer laziness.

I have seen you, and you need the exercise.


My temporary handicap placard is for one year; this is what I requested from my doctor. As soon as I can walk without my crutches in near-normal fashion and transcend stairs, I intend not to use the handicap slots. I'm not doing this for any reason other than some disabled person may need them more than me.

Once I start running again, I thought it might be humorous to park in a handicapped spot only to hop out and start a race. That's a joke, son, so no, I would never do that.

It will be interesting to see if they allow me to get to the head of the line at the handicap port-a-pottie. I think I will have earned that one right. = ;-)

* approximate times


  1. You should have taken a second shot of that yellow car from the back to show the license plate and then sent the photos to the relevant authorities. Maybe if the owner had to pay a big fine at least one fewer person would take a handicap spot in the future.

    Ellen (mad with you)

  2. Hi Ellen,

    We were leaving as I took that shot, to the left is where the Hertz airport vans come for drops offs / pick ups so I couldn't maneuver to get a pic or I would have.

    I am going to start taking more pics for a "Hall of Fame" page of offenders. I had to complain about the cleaning crew at our office for the same thing.

    - Richard

  3. I have the perfect way of dealing with people who park in handicapped spots without a placard or plate. I have a can of Silly Foam in my backpack. I cover the entire front and back windshield with it then leave them a nice note on the drivers side window. Even if you are handicapped and you don't have a plate or placard, you can't legally park in that spot.

  4. I have forgotten to put my placard out a couple of times, but I haven't been silly foamed yet. Guess I'll have to engage in self-flagellation. :-)