Author Topic: When a child is the "owner" of a handicapped parking placard.  (Read 18963 times)

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mmswm

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When a child is the "owner" of a handicapped parking placard.
« on: October 12, 2012, 08:51:21 PM »
Hi, I'm new here.  I looked around for a similar thread, but I couldn't find one, so if this is a duplicate, please feel free to direct me to an already existing thread.

I'm looking for a good way to deal with people who say nasty things or give me dirty looks when I park in a handicapped space when I have my 10 year old son with me.  He suffers from a rare, genetic bone disease and requires surgery from time to time.  Recently, he's had his left hip rebuilt and was issued a handicapped parking placard.  I am happy to report that recovery is going nicely.  He used a wheelchair for a time, then a walker, and now a cane.  Some days he feels better than others and goes without the cane. 

My problem is with bystanders who make rude comments to me or my son.  I've been told all manner of nasty things, and once even had somebody run over his walker when I set it aside as I was trying to get him loaded into my car (to make it worse, my oldest son also suffers from this disease and had ankle surgery a month after the youngest had hip surgery, so during that incident, I had one kid in a wheelchair and another on a walker).  Usually, I just smile and go about my business, but sometimes people get into my face and yell at me. I sometimes reply by saying that "My son's doctor feels that he needs it".

Unfortunately, my son is very sensitive.  He was also born 16 weeks early and has some neuro-sensory issues in addition to the bone disease.  He gets very upset with any kind of confrontation, and there have been times when he completely melted down because these strangers yelling at mommy have scared him.

I would love some advise on how to respond (or not respond) to better slip away from these confrontations, or avoid them all together.  Thanks!
Some people lift weights.  I lift measures.  It's a far more esoteric workout. - (Quoted from a personal friend)

ChiGirl

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Re: When a child is the "owner" of a handicapped parking placard.
« Reply #1 on: October 12, 2012, 08:54:00 PM »
I think an icy-cold "you are upsetting my child.  Leave us alone" might do the trick...really it's the icy-cold tone you need in your arsenal.

gmatoy

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Re: When a child is the "owner" of a handicapped parking placard.
« Reply #2 on: October 12, 2012, 08:58:27 PM »
I love ChiGirl's response! Another thing might be to say calmly, "Not all disabilities are visible. "

SamiHami

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Re: When a child is the "owner" of a handicapped parking placard.
« Reply #3 on: October 12, 2012, 09:08:40 PM »
I would also be tempted to throw in a "How DARE you!" as well.

The nerve of some people. The mind absolutely boggles.

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mmswm

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Re: When a child is the "owner" of a handicapped parking placard.
« Reply #4 on: October 12, 2012, 09:09:29 PM »
Thank you for the replies.  I need to work on the "icy stare".  I'm not very good at it, as I tend to try to keep a smile on my face, even when I want to be very, very snarky. Maybe it's all those years of customer service I worked that keeps that false smile on my face. 
Some people lift weights.  I lift measures.  It's a far more esoteric workout. - (Quoted from a personal friend)

gramma dishes

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Re: When a child is the "owner" of a handicapped parking placard.
« Reply #5 on: October 12, 2012, 09:18:28 PM »
Where do  you live?  I can't even begin to imagine adults tormenting a child like that.  What's wrong with those people?

Someone ran over his walker?  Deliberately?  What a horrid thing to do!  Could you get the license plate number of that car?  I'd report that.

I don't know what to tell you, but yes, whatever you say, make sure to say it in the most icy cold tones you can muster and make your face match that icy tone.  No smiling allowed!   ;D

MorgnsGrl

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Re: When a child is the "owner" of a handicapped parking placard.
« Reply #6 on: October 12, 2012, 09:20:06 PM »
Ugh, I so don't understand people who would confront you like that! Not cool. I think the icy stare is good advice. I might be tempted to say, "Not all disabilities are visible -- for example, looking at you, I'd never guess that you suffer from a complete lack of empathy." (I'm not suggesting that you say it, but maybe thinking it might make the icy stare a little easier.)

Pippen

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Re: When a child is the "owner" of a handicapped parking placard.
« Reply #7 on: October 12, 2012, 09:23:32 PM »
Not knowing your son and how he reacts to these encounters but could you sit down with him and explain that some people are simply ignorant and make judgments based on superficial things and it is best to ignore them. He could feel he needs to protect you and reassuring him you can deal with the mean comments yourself might make him feel more at ease.

These people know nothing of your situation and there is no point engaging with them if they have the temerity to say something to you.


Danika

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Re: When a child is the "owner" of a handicapped parking placard.
« Reply #8 on: October 12, 2012, 09:55:05 PM »
There was a roughly similar thread on EHell about six months ago and the OP used the reply "What an interesting assumption." It was in the directory with the title "What an interesting assumption.". That OP was an adult, not a child, but apparently, not "old enough" to have health problems, according to some passersby.

At the time I read the thread, I was recovering from pelvic surgery and it was helpful to me to read. I have had hip problems for a few years. My hip is finally healing. I'm in my mid-30s. I look young and healthy. Before and after the pelvic surgery, I used the handicapped stalls in public restrooms because I needed, and sometimes still need the aid of the hand rails. Before I read that thread, I overheard a woman in the bathroom waiting for the occupied handicapped stall (which I was using) carrying on loudly about how normal folks should use the empty smaller stalls so that people who needed the handicapped ones could use them. When she saw me walk out of the stall using my hands to steady me against the bathroom walls, she clammed up.

I was prepared to use the phrase "what an interesting assumption" or else to say something else I've read on EHell if that happened again in the future. That phrase was "bad things can happen to young people too." I was going to reword it as "Just because I'm young, doesn't mean I'm healthy."

Luckily, since then, no one has said anything to me about using the handicapped stalls. And once I got a brace for my knee (apparently, my weak knee was causing some of my hip issues) I haven't had to use those stalls.

I agree with a PP that you don't owe them to educate them. But if it would make you or your son feel empowered, you can try one of the above phrases.

mmswm

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Re: When a child is the "owner" of a handicapped parking placard.
« Reply #9 on: October 12, 2012, 10:00:03 PM »
Gramma Dishes: I've recently moved to Washington state, but the incident with the man running over the walker happened in Minnesota (so much for "Minnesota Nice", eh?) Two young men who watched the incident approached me to help me, as obviously I was quite upset, and they got his tag number and reported it to the management of the store. The store management pulled the security video and reported it to the police.  The driver was held responsible for the damage to the walker and issued a few citations. 

Gmatoy: My son still walks with an obvious limp, even when he goes without his cane, but that line will hopefully be appropriate soon, if his recovery continues as nicely as it has been.

Pippen: Yes, I've had those conversations with him. They've helped, but not solved the problem. I tend to not park in handicapped spots on his good days, but if the only regular parking is in the "back forty", then I go ahead and park up close, because there's no telling if he'll be able to make the walk out once we've finished our shopping. Generally, the times I've had to deal with the rudest of people have been the times that he was least capable of handling it.  Between pain, embarrassment, and his neuro-sensory issues, it's just too much sometimes.

I really like the "You're upsetting my child" comment, for times when no response simply doesn't work.
Some people lift weights.  I lift measures.  It's a far more esoteric workout. - (Quoted from a personal friend)

mmswm

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Re: When a child is the "owner" of a handicapped parking placard.
« Reply #10 on: October 12, 2012, 10:04:23 PM »
Danika, thanks for the info on the other thread.  I will keep looking for it.  I somehow missed it when I looked for similar threads earlier. I like the "bad things can happen to young people" line, since that's the nature of some of the comments I get.  People seem to thing that just because he's young, he's just being lazy or being overly dramatic.
Some people lift weights.  I lift measures.  It's a far more esoteric workout. - (Quoted from a personal friend)

Acadianna

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Re: When a child is the "owner" of a handicapped parking placard.
« Reply #11 on: October 12, 2012, 10:29:55 PM »
This...

I think an icy-cold "you are upsetting my child.  Leave us alone" might do the trick...really it's the icy-cold tone you need in your arsenal.

And this...

Where do  you live?  I can't even begin to imagine adults tormenting a child like that.  What's wrong with those people?

Two perfectly on-the-mark posts.  I'm tapping my foot in agreement.

pearls n purls

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Re: When a child is the "owner" of a handicapped parking placard.
« Reply #12 on: October 12, 2012, 10:30:21 PM »
I'm astounded by how cruel people can be.

Bijou

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Bijou

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Re: When a child is the "owner" of a handicapped parking placard.
« Reply #14 on: October 12, 2012, 10:31:55 PM »
I'm astounded by how cruel people can be.
I agree.
I've never knitted anything I could recognize when it was finished.  Actually, I've never finished anything, much to my family's relief.