Adam lives in what is considered to be one of the most peaceful college towns. On a sudden
Friday afternoon, Adam finds himself in a conflict with a man he doesn’t know.
In the intention of fighting for a cause that he believes in, he could have never foreseen what the man had waiting for him in his jeans.
It was during spring break when Adam was parking in front of his apartment complex. At this time of year, most college students go back to their families leaving the area empty.
As Adam left his car, he looked around taking in the nearly vacant parking lot. He suddenly noticed a man emerging out of his car in the distance.
He had never seen him before. The fact that he was suddenly in that exact spot is what caught Adam’s attention.
Normally, as Adam was well aware of, it was someone else who parked on that exact spot every single day. But not today. That’s when he had the gut feeling that something was very wrong.
Here And Now
To Adam’s shock, he realized that the man, who seemed physically fine, was parked in the handicapped parking space. He personally knew the student that regularly occupied that spot and how much of a difference it made.
As a matter of fact, that student was someone very close to him. His name was Mike Jones, and his story was something Adam could never forget.
As Adam knew very well, Mike Jones had gone through more than one rough patch in his lifetime. That’s why Adam always tried to be a good friend to him and kept his best interest at heart.
Not only was he physically disabled; his condition was the result of a dramatic event that took place a few years before.
One time, during a late-night conversation with Adam over some beers, Mike had revealed to him the reason why he was wearing a prosthetic leg.
As if his injury and resulting disability weren’t painful enough, the circumstances that caused it had been absolutely traumatizing. It was amazing and admirable to Adam how Mike had managed to keep his sanity and stick through it.
One night, Mike walked in on his girlfriend cheating on him with one of his friends. It was more than he could handle; he quickly left the building, got into his car, and started driving around.
He was blind with rage and frustration. He kept driving around with no specific direction until he took a road leading to the highway, out of town.
Tortured by the pain of betrayal, Mike couldn’t think straight. His mind trapped by desperately furious thoughts, he started driving more and more recklessly until tragedy ensued.
His car crashed. The accident could have been fatal, but Mike came out alive. However, he lost his right leg. He had been wearing a prosthetic leg ever since then.
The accident happened shortly after Mike graduated high school. It was a traumatizing experience for him, but he was an incredibly resilient person.
He started university right after and stuck through it. He never felt sorry for himself or saw his accident and his girlfriend’s betrayal as something that would keep him from having a good life.
Adam felt unmeasurable respect for Mike. Not many grown men would have been capable of going through what he had gone through with such a strength of character.
That’s why he took that man using his parking spot as a personal issue. Watching as the man walked away, Adam thought to himself “If this happens again, I will need to take matters into my own hands.”
Follow The Sign
Watching from the window, Adam noticed that the next few days that exact same man, from the Friday incident, continuously parked in the same spot. It was as if he had no regard to the very clear sign that said: “Handicapped Parking Only”.
Fuming with anger, Adam decided to finally take action.
The First Note
Angrily, Adam picked up a pen and paper and started writing a letter to the man. Realizing how he reacted out of frustration, he jotted down a completely different letter.
The letter read “hey, not trying to assume, invisible disabilities exist, but you don’t have a placard up, so if you are licensed to park here, please put up your placard”
Proud Of The Note
The excitement in Adam’s body made him rush over to this man’s car the minute he saw him parked again. Gently placing the note between the windshields of this man’s car, Adam’s heart felt at ease knowing that he had actually done something about the situation at hand.
When the letter was finally picked up, Adam’s frustration went back to a hundred.
As Adam patiently watched from his apartment window, down looking the parking lot, he saw the man head towards the letter. Within seconds, the man picked up the paper, quickly read his words, and crumpled it up as if it was nothing. Adam’s face quickly turned red.
Adam knew that he had to up his game.
This Better Work
This time around, Adam’s new note was everything but nice. Wasting no more time, Adam left his apartment, placed the note in the same spot, but waited patiently in his car for the man to come forth.
With a clear smug look on his face, Adam watched as the man made his way to his car.
Note In Action
The note read “I’ve tried to be nice, but this got out of hand. Please remove your car. You are not meant to park here”. This time the man irritably picked up the paper and looked around to see who was leaving him all these notes.
Basking in all his glory, Adam opened the door to his front seat, ready for what is yet to come.
Trying to maintain his composure, Adam made his way to the man’s car. Feeling the adrenaline rushing through his veins, he found himself quickly spilling out the truth, which is that he was the one leaving the notes.
The man took in a deep breath, looking beyond irritated by Adam, knowing that what’s in his pants would end this once and for all.
The Truth Is Out
The man slowly bent down whilst maintaining eye contact with Adam. With a face void of any expression, he grabbed the end of his jeans and pulled it upwards, revealing what was hidden in the bottom side of his left leg.
At this point, Adam’s mouth opened wide, as he was left in awe. That was something he would have never expected to see.
Ignorance Isn’t Always Bliss
The man stood there staring at Adam as he uncovered his prosthetic leg. Overwhelmed by the new realization Adam was faced with, he blurted out an apology and confessed how ignorant he was.
After hearing what Adam had to say, the man blurted out a few words of his own. What he said left Adam speechless.
Too Little Too Late
Trying to maintain feelings of frustration and disappointment, the man demonstrated how this interaction should’ve been in the first place. He quickly explained how it is always safer to ask than to assume, for no one should ever feel the need to explain themselves for doing mundane errands.
Feeling the weight of his own actions, Adam swiftly replied.
Adam explained how this spot was often used by a friend of his and further apologized for making such a quick and irresponsible judgment. Both men shook hands and parted ways as the misunderstanding was cleared up.
As Adam got back home, he became well aware of something: there was one thing he really needed to do.
Ask Don’t Assume
Adam made it a mission of his to educate himself on the different types of disabilities and realized how important it is to educate other people on this matter.
This is a story everyone can learn from, for it is easy to make rapid judgments and take action, but it takes courage to seek out the truth and not simply assume. However, it isn’t the first time something like this has happened.
Emma Doherty was rushing into the children’s hospital carrying her son in her arms. They were running late, but they had to make it. Her son’s life was at stake.
The young mother was already under a lot of pressure. And to make things worse, after she left the hospital, she found something that brought tears to her eyes.
There was a note on her windshield. Emma left her son in the car and then picked up the piece of paper.
When she read what it said, she first felt anger, and then, an insurmountable sadness. She felt a lump in her throat. How could there be people so callous and inconsiderate in the world? This is what the note said:
A Vile Message
“You lazy, conning witch. You did not have a disabled person with you! These spaces are reserved for people who need them!!!”
Emma looked left and right, trying to see if there was someone in her vicinity who could have put that note on her windshield. But the parking lot was empty. It seemed like there was no way to find out. However, the aggrieved mother had a plan.
Taking It To Facebook
She shared a picture of the note on Facebook and explained the full story about why she parked on the handicapped spot. This is what she said:
“To the person who put this on my car, which I had put my disabled badge: I’m not angry at your pure ignorance, I’m actually upset with it. How dare you ever accuse anyone of not needing a disabled badge without knowing.”
Destroying The Stigma
“I wish you had the guts to say this to my face and I would have told you (even though I don’t need to explain myself to the likes of you) but I’d happily said why I have a badge. I promise to get the stigma away from people with disabled badges who don’t ‘look disabled.’”
“I hope this gets shared and back to you and you will see my son is terminally ill. He’s had over 15 operations 3 open hearts, 2 stomach, lung and diaphragm and countless artery stenting operations and spent half his life in intensive care.”
Not All Disabilities Are Visible
“He’s had 2 strokes and was paralyzed, brain-damaged and has a spine and hip condition as well as a massive heart condition.”
“NOT ALL DISABILITIES ARE VISIBLE and I hope you regret doing this and learn your lesson! I knew something would be said one day, as every day I get looks and stares and see people whispering to each other about me and Bobby walking from the car.”
“Everyone needs to stop and think before acting. I hardly ever let anything upset me but this did. My son’s disabled pass is not a con; he’s actually seriously ill. I’ve added a picture of him to prove not everyone looks ill or disabled but can be seriously ill.”
Soon enough, Emma’s post went viral. More than 31,000 people shared it and even more commented on it.
Fantastic Strong Mom
“So true what you say and you are a fantastic strong mom and don’t deserve this. That person obv has a very sad life to be so obnoxious, so sorry they upset you,” wrote a Facebook user.
“What a lovely way for a relative of a sick child to treat a fellow relative of a sick child. Sorry you had to receive this note Emma. I wish people would be kinder, you never know what other people are battling,” said another.
In order to protect the privacy of those depicted, some names, locations, and identifying characteristics have been changed and are products of the author’s imagination. Any resemblances to actual events or places or persons, living or dead, are entirely coincidental.