People are being shamed for parking in disabled spots because they don’t have a wheelchair

A woman with Multiple Sclerosis has shared a photo on social media of a note a stranger left on her

A woman with Multiple Sclerosis has shared a photo on social media of a note a stranger left on her car.

The woman, Justine Van Den Borne, had driven to her local shops and parked in the disabled car park like she normally does.

Justine says she was having a “good day” and was able to walk from her car into the shops without any help.

When she returned to her car though, she found a nasty note written by a stranger saying, “Did you forget your wheelchair???”.

It’s not the first time someone with a disability, but no wheelchair, has been publicly shamed for using a disabled car space.

But just because a person can walk, does it really mean they can’t use the park they are entitled to?

People who suffer from diseases like MS or Parkinson often have a mix of good days and bad. Some days they can walk without help for short distances, other days it’s too difficult and they need a friend or carer to help them.

Justine says she was enjoying herself the day she found that note on her car, only to have it ruined by someone who thought they knew best without actually knowing anything about her.

She wrote in her Facebook post: “To person that left this on my car last week at Mitcham Shopping Centre- I was diagnosed with Multiple Sclerosis when I was 35. Not just MS but the worst one that never goes away and is slowly crippling my life.

“My kids have had to deal with things that kids shouldn’t ever have to deal with and all of our futures are forever changed. On the day you saw me I was having a good day, I was walking with my daughter unaided having a nice day. Thank you for ruining that. You made me feel like people were looking at me, the exact way I feel when I can’t walk properly.

“I am sick of people like yourself abusing me on my good days for using a facility I am entitled to. A disability doesn’t always mean a person has to be wheelchair bound but lucky for you I one day will be. Right now my focus is to walk into my best friends wedding next September and not have to be pushed. I will be 42.

“Before you ruin another persons day remember you don’t know everything and just because you can’t see it it doesn’t mean a person isn’t struggling to put one foot in front of the other.”

The post quickly went viral with people throwing their support behind her.

“Keep going strong Justine, you are an inspiration to many,” said one supporter.

There were some though who suggested that disabled spots should only be used when you “really need them”.

“Most wheelchair parking spots are larger for those with chairs to be able to transfer. If you can walk think of those who can’t, this problem has gotten out of hand,” said another commenter.

What’s your opinion on this issue?

Should disabled car parks only be used if a person “really needs them” that day? Or, is it a person’s right to park there every time if they have a disabled parking permit?

  1. define the word “need” mum can walk BUT some days better than others, but not without a wheelie walker we always keep a wheel chair in the boot but its a fight to get her to use it. then there is me who isnt disabled enough i walk the length of car parks and shopping centres and I end up crippled flat on my back doped up with pain killers.due to back /neck / shoulder injuries but i dont qualify for either disability parking or a scooter.

  2. Sharon  

    Maybe they should find another way to define Disabled Car Parking spots other than a wheelchair.

  3. Sue  

    For those criticising the use of non wheelchair users……walk a mile in their shoes, no wait, walk 100 meters in their shoes. Sure the spots are wider, but not only for wheelchairs but for those who need extra space to exit a car. Our son had a disabled sticker for several years when recovering from a hemispherectomy, leaving him a hemiplegic. While he learnt to walk again he needed space to get out of the car and used a walking stick to get around. As soon as he was able to walk comfortably he stopped using disabled car parks. Now I have one in our car for my husband who has terminal cancer and struggles to walk any distance. We would change places with all you able bodied critics in an instant!

    • Marg  

      My husband also has terminal cancer and cant walk very far. when we get in the shopping centre he sits and waits for me to do the shopping. As he is mainly confined to a chair in the lounge room , it does him good to get out for awhile.
      I do get angry when people have a go at someone and dont know their circumstance

    • R'laine  

      Walk 100 steps! For some that is a huge achievement.

  4. Carer  

    My husband has serious back problems and can hardly walk on some days. His definition of a “good” day is not when he is pain free, but when the level of pain can be handled enough for him to walk through the shopping centre unaided. It makes me angry when I see people look at him, then check out whether there is a disabled sticker on the windscreen. I sometimes hear mumbled comments, and if I can hear them, so can he! Remember – you can’t see pain. Just because a person looks ok to you, doesn’t mean they feel ok. We can go into the shops when he is feeling less pain and looking “normal”, only to finish the trip with him barely walking. And that is when, for his sake, I am so grateful we only to walk the shorter distance to our car. The use of a disabled parking space is small compensation for the life he is now forced to live. Maybe the picture of a wheelchair is confusing to those who don’t understand, but what would be the alternative? Can you make a suggestion of just what should be depicted?

  5. June Hooper  

    So many people have disabilities thant cannot be seen, hearts and lungs that dont work well, cancers that are slowly taking over – I have a partner who looks fit and healthy but cant walk 10 paces without having to stop to catch his breath. Please don’t judge, disability parking stickers aren’t given out willy nilly, unfortunately they have to be earned.
    Just hope you wont need one.

    • Lorraine  

      This is so true I have mild heart failure and enphasima,,most days I struggle to walk and breath properly I thank goodness for my mobility card,,I wouldn’t be able to shop if I couldn’t get close to the shop,,some days I can’t drive so my family take me and I still use my card,,

  6. Sheryl Fuller  

    A lot (not all) of people are simply ignorant & totally unaware of exactly what “disability” is, I am probably more tolerant of ignorant people now that I’ve been disabled for quite a while. Only someone living in a “disabled world” can truly understand the meaning. Let their thoughtless comments go over your head & decide to not let their problem be yours. Be strong & best wishes to all living with disability.

  7. Bill  

    I have a disabled badge which I display when parking but do not have a wheel chair.I have been Identified as disabled by my local authority in order to be allowed to park in designated areas and it is not part of the conditions that I have to have a wheel chair to park in theses Bays . its unfortunate that a wheel chair symbol is used internationally as a means of identifying recipients who are legally entitled to park in such an area? may be a change in design is needed but at what cost who will pay for the change etc ? could it be that people should take notice of badges that are clearly displayed and spend their time checking for vehicles without a badge ,
    Personally I think these note leavers are NOSEY COWARDS who haven’t the decency to say what they mean face to face?

  8. Deb Ford  

    I had a similar event many years ago, after becoming disabled in an accident aged 44. I had taken two friends, a mother and daughter shopping and parked in the disabled spot. An older woman (who walked without an aid) got to her car and said the spot was for disabled and why was I parking there. With my walking stick I went around to the passenger side of my car and open the door fully so she could leave, then got the crutches for my friends daughter to alight with her ankle in plaster and then retrieved my friends wheelchair from the boot and assisted her into it. I then asked the woman “how disabled do we need to be”.

  9. Rosemary  

    I have arthritis- 2 knee replacements and only use a stick. One of the ops did not go well and I have a stiff knee so getting out of the car in ordinary spots is almost impossible. You do not get a disabled sticker for no reason.

  10. Don’t judge, you have no idea what type of disability a person has. Disable stickers are not just handed out. They are actually very difficult to get & your doctor has to complete the application. So if the car is displaying a sticker, mind your own business.

  11. TonyR  

    I also think that it should be possible to get a short term permit for people with injuries.
    I had my wife with a severely broken leg and a wheelchair but, because it is going to be better within six months, there was no provision to obtain permit to use the disabled spaces.

    • Maree  

      Toally agree. Last year i had 2 broken ankles & wore 2 moon-boots… no weight bearing allowed on right foot for 2 months… had to use either a wheelchair or a walking frame. Hubby would drop me out front of shopping centre, park the car then find me. When it was time to leave he got the car then picked me up out the front … sometimes we held people up but they were mostly understanding. If we could have parked in disabled spot it would have been so much easier.

  12. Frank Filmer  

    The person who left the note did not leave there name or any contact details they are cowards and we should not change the system for them to get a pass you have to have a doctors ok that low life new nothing just hatred

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