I’m responding to Sue Mackey’s letter from July 10 in which she advocates confronting and calling attention to people using handicap parking when it appears that they have no physical disability. Ms. Mackey describes an encounter at the Mount Si Golf Course in which a man is parked in a handicap parking spot. She asked the middle-aged man if he was disabled and he replied “yes”, after which he walked unaided (and without apparent disability) into a restaurant. She then explains how she stared at the man throughout his meal to make him feel uncomfortable.
I have no personal experience with this encounter, but would like to inform Ms. Mackey that there are some disabilities which cannot always be recognized via casual observation, (two examples include fibromyalgia and arthritis). Light physical activity, like golf, might be beneficial to some with these disabilities. Painful symptoms may not always accompany these disabilities, however if symptoms trigger while at a restaurant, in a movie theater, or on a golf course, then every additional step back to a parking spot could cause pain or discomfort.
Never use disabled parking spots if you are not disabled, (not even to wait for someone or to turn your car around). If you personally know someone who is abusing disabled parking privileges, then I encourage you to persuade that person to stop. These actions alone will help ensure all those with disabilities (obvious or not) can find and use disabled parking without any fear of embarrassment or shame.