Justine Van Den Borne, of Melborne, Australia, jumped in her car one afternoon with her daughter and the two headed off to shop. It was exciting for both of them, as it had been quite some time since they were able to do such a thing. Justine pulled into a handicapped parking space, got out of the car and started walking toward the shops.
But Justine started getting a lot of evil stares from several others who were in the parking lot. They had watched her pull into a handicapped spot and she got out of the car and appeared to be walking with no difficulty at all. Didn’t matter that she had a handicapped parking sticker on her vehicle. People watched her and her daughter walk normally from her car. They could not see any reason for her to park in that handicapped spot.
But Justine shrugged off those evil stares. She was actually having a good day, because her multiple sclerosis was not acting up on her. It was a day when she didn’t have to rely on getting around in a wheelchair or with a walker. Justine relishes those good days, because often the disease causes numbness and tingling in her limbs, loss of vision, extreme fatigue and slurred speech. Those days can be extremely difficult, and those symptoms could return at any time. It’s a crippling lifelong condition. And that’s why she parked in the handicapped spot.
So Justine and her daughter carried on and had a fun afternoon of shopping. But when they returned to the car, Justine found a note on her windshield from someone who obviously wasn’t going to let her walking capabilities go.
The note read: “Did you forget your wheelchair?”
It upset Justine, and she stewed about it for a few days. Then, she posted this message on Facebook: “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 friend’s wedding next September and not have to be pushed. I will be 42. Before you ruin another person’s 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.”
To person that left this on my car last week at Mitcham Shopping Centre- I was diagnosed with Multiple Sclerosis when I…Posted by Justine Van Den Borne on Monday, 9 November 2015
It was a powerful message. And I’m sure it’s one that all of us… including me… will keep in mind the next time we see someone pull into a handicapped spot who doesn’t APPEAR to be disabled.