car parked on handicap space hashmarksBy Michelle W. Jones, CAE, CMP

Merriam-Webster provides a definition of “inconsiderate” as “heedless, thoughtless,” and “careless of the rights or feelings of others.”

On Sunday, my 22-year-old niece posted this photo with a poignant message on Facebook:

“Just because it is Super Bowl Sunday doesn’t mean it gives you the right to park on the lines in between handicap spaces. Those lines are for people who have medical equipment, so they can the room to get in and out of their cars. Not to mention that this car doesn’t have a handicap placard/license plate. Please be considerate of people with disabilities.”

She knows this well because she has Arthrogryposis and uses a motorized wheelchair herself. I was so proud of her for sharing her observation and for being concise and accurate, without being (justifiably) nasty.

I couldn’t help but think of the work the Accessible Parking Coalition (APC) is doing, and I shared the website with her. It is a powerful statement that, “Assuring independence is everyone’s fight.” If only everyone could and would read and heed the message that, “…using an accessible parking spot ‘for just five minutes’ or blocking the designated, cross-hatched loading zone for wheelchair accessible parking spots, can deny a person with disabilities the ability to shop,” as the violator in the photo has done.
We all should be vigilant and become citizen activists.

Michelle W. Jones, CAE, CMP, is IPMI’s director of convention and meeting services.

*Photo provided by Ciana Dassonville