I’ve never parked in a handicapped spot until recently. But I’ve seen so many able bodied folks use and abuse them. It always made me angry. For years I witnessed people in wheelchairs and wondered how they could do it. How devastating, not being able to walk, run, ski, climb that mountain.
In August 2007 I had a devastating spinal cord injury after a fishing accident. I tried to climb down a 30-foot embankment to get to the Glover River in McCurtain County. It didn’t work.
I’m now in a wheelchair and I use the handicapped parking so I can drop the lift on my van and roll out. I’ve not encountered many problems, but before Christmas at Penn Square Mall. I pulled into a handicapped spot, leaving ample room on the right in the “striped area.” This is where my ramp needs to drop and I get out. I need 8-feet of clearance.
A woman in a hurry roared in beside me and parked in the yellow striped area. I rolled the window and told her to move. She uttered a few obscenities and obliged.
Yes, I guess you can say I have an agenda now. I just want the disabled like me to have access to restaurants, games, shopping, etc., without feeling inadequate. For those of you able-bodied folks that use our spaces, come live a day in our life, look in a mirror at night and if you can sleep well, your soul is beyond reparation.
As my reporter pointed out in a recent article, if you see someone you think is illegally parked in a handicapped spot:
In Oklahoma City, call the Action Center at 297-2535 or the Handicap Parking Enforcement Specialist program at 316-4050.
• Outside of Oklahoma City, contact a local police department, action center or parking enforcement program.