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Saturday, September 01, 2018

My friend has a blind spot

My marginally disabled friend gives me rides sometimes, so I hesitate being a backseat driver, but recently I noticed a pattern he employs that bugs me when it comes to his restricted parking ways.

My friend has a disability permit. His first physician said he was well enough and that he should walk more. The doctor would not recommend a special placard. So what did my friend do? He drove to the next town for a second opinion.

I don’t believe he told the second doctor what the first advised. Perhaps my friend exaggerated his difficulty, trying to gain quick empathy. What bothers me more is that when my friend aims to park in a designated handicapped spot; a regular parking spot is often available nearby, mere steps away. What if someone with a more challenging disability needs the spot my friend just snagged? Someone blind who’s experienced a horrific crash or a quadriplegic needing wide berth, (which those spots provide) for maneuvering a wheelchair?

Mt friend thinks otherwise. For him it’s “First come, first serve!” When I see attitudes like this I’m reminded of the nine UCLA football players who counterfeited disability placards in 1999*. Here was a sad case of our most able-bodied men, who trained lifting weights and running many miles, getting caught being parking cheats.

My friend makes the argument that he needs the closest spot in the event of an icy pathway. Well, maybe so, but ironically for him sometimes those much desired spots are the iciest, since they’re the closest ones to the building shade! I would hope for snow days my friend would don proper shoes or use lightweight cleats. And call on me to guide him to the door.

 If my friend would consider more mindful courtesy toward those with less fortunate ambulatory capabilities, it would be a nice turn of a walk for him to take.


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