Nikki Waller, a Pennsylvanian mom of two, was just making an ordinary trip to Walmart with her kids when the entire outing turned ugly. When she came out of the store, she noticed an anonymous note on her car, which was parked in a handicapped spot, which read: “Reserved parking a**hole. Did your welfare check come today?”
Waller is granted a handicapped placard, because her 7-year-old son has juvenile arthritis with myalgia and hypermobility disorder–which means it’s incredibly painful and hard for him to walk.
Because of this, Waller aired her frustrations on Facebook as a way to raise awareness when it comes to disabilities and special needs:
“So I went to Belle Vernon Walmart last night to get the boys a quick haircut. I came out to find this on my car. Those of you who know me know that it really angers me when people without handicap signs park in those spaces. So seeing that I was parked legally this was a little funny to me. But then I became sad. I am not sad for myself or for my son. I am sad for you…the author of this nice note.
There are two words to describe you. The first is ignorance. I am saddened by the fact that you obviously saw my children and I pull into one of four empty handicap spaces, saw our ages, and made judgements. Unfortunately, it is the youngest member of our group who requires this space. I do not expect you to know all of his medical diagnoses, to pull up his pant legs to see the braces he wears on his legs, or to know that his liver is going to shit because of medication he needs every day.
But I would expect you, as an adult, to think outside the box. You do not have to be 90 and have a walker to obtain handicap parking. The second word I would use to describe you is coward. You had the guts to leave this note for me after I left my car but not enough to question me about my reason for parking in that space.
Had you even had the guts to approach me with a rude comment I would have been happy to educate you. Instead, you hid like a coward, making ignorant judgments. So your note did not affect me in the way you thought it would. It only made me feel sorry for you and people like you.”
The Mighty pointed out, via statistics from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), that “more than half of America’s adult population live with a chronic health condition, many of whom would benefit from having a placard.” Out of the 117 million Americans living with a chronic condition, 53 million have arthritis, which can be debilitating.
Like Waller said, just because you can’t see signs of a condition, doesn’t mean someone isn’t suffering from it. This is something we all need to remember on a daily basis–both emotionally and physically.