Today I wanted to go the convenience store here on post during lunchtime. I was hungry and needed a few small items they normally have. So I chose the one closest to my home, not my normal one. When I arrived all of the handicapped spaces were full and not all of them had placards or license plats allowing them to park in these spaces. I do have a placard and with my wheelchair it’s almost a necessity. I drove around the lot for twenty minutes finally a handicapped space opened up. I still couldn’t use it. Why? Someone riding a motorcycle had decided to park in the no parking area next to the handicapped space I needed to unload my wheelchair. I was fuming mad. Thankfully on my next pass a second spot had opened up. I snapped some photos of his bike including his license plate number and went inside. I went into the store to get what I needed, but decided to wait on the food. I wanted to give that motorcycle rider a piece of my mind.
In all honesty I was hungry a bit tired and not in the best of moods, this meant they were in for it. I caught the rider coming out of the store. I stopped him and spoke with him, I reminded him that not only was this illegal, it was inconsiderate and unprofessional especially for a sergeant in the United States Army. He tried to excuse his behavior by claiming he didn’t know what that space with the no parking lines was for, I didn’t buy it then and I don’t buy it now.
After he left I wrote down his name and rank and what unit he belonged to. I had every intention of going down to the unit and filing a complaint, because this is not the first time I’ve had that issue at this store. The store is located near the headquarters of one of the largest units on base. As I was deciding whether to eat first or go straight down to the unit and let them have a piece of my mind so they could fix this issue once and for all. While I was waiting a major from this unit walked by, I flagged him down. I gave him all of the pertinent details and informed him that it was not the first time I had seen such behavior from soldiers in his unit. I also told him that I had spoken with the soldier, but didn’t think he understood the severity of the issue. The soldier had given me the impression that he didn’t really care what I had to say, he did give me an apology, however I think that was just an attempt to pacify me. I just hope the major gets to the bottom of this, I get the feeling he will.
This is not the only inconsiderate thing I have witnessed in recent weeks. On my way back from Oklahoma I stopped at a truck stop to get gas and use the restroom. There were 4 giddy teenage girls in the handicapped stall so I waited patiently. After 45 minutes of waiting I tracked down an adult who was with these teenagers and mentioned their occupation of the stall. I was told that they had every right to use the stall as long as they wanted, just as I had every right to use it as long as I wanted to. Needless to say this did not sit well. Thankfully I was at a truck stop not just a gas station. I found the manager and mentioned the issue to her. She promptly opened the handicapped shower for my use. (Yes, truck stops have showers.) After that the manager proceeded to speak with the adult who was accompanying the teenagers who were still in the bathroom (going on an hour now). The manager was equally frustrated with this behavior. The manager proceeded to ask the group to finish up and leave since they were being rude to other customers.
In short think before you occupy a space designated for handicapped people. If you do use the handicapped stall don’t hold it hostage for an hour, there maybe someone who needs it. Don’t park in the no parking spaces meant for loading and unloading wheelchairs either, it’s not only inconsiderate its illegal.
I guess common sense isn’t so common any more and consideration for others seems to have gone right out the window.