I get it!
I majored in Special Education. I have a heart for those among us who are differently abled. I understand the urge to defend those who may not be able to defend themselves (or may not have witnessed what you saw). I understand the desire to fight injustices.
I know that some individuals out there are using a relative’s car (or a family vehicle) that just so happens to have a permit and take advantage of the system by using parking spaces that they don’t really need. I know this happens. I hope that it doesn’t happen often, but I do realize that it happens.
I get it! I get the anger. I get the indignation. I get the feeling to do something. I do. I really understand. But…
Many years ago, that could have been me!
That could have been me that you saw parking in the handicapped parking. I was perfectly healthy without a health concern or disability. There I was getting out of the car with proper permits clearly visible and not a disability to justify my parking there.
What you probably missed was me dropping my disabled grandfather at the door.
If you would have gotten there just a little bit earlier, you might have seen me dropping my grandfather off at the front door. He was paralyzed on half his body, walking with the aid of a walker, wheezing with emphysema, and very noticeably disabled. I parked in the handicapped parking space for him. When we left the store, he needed the car to be as close to the exit as possible. Even a short shopping trip took a lot out of him, but he enjoyed getting out so much.
There are three realms of knowledge.
The first realm of knowledge is “What you know that you know”. You know that you know that I appeared to have no disabilities. You know that you know that I am driving a vehicle with proper permits.
The second realm of knowledge is “What you know that you don’t know”. People like to ignore this realm especially when judging other people. You know that you don’t know my medical history. You know that you don’t know anything about me beyond what you see.
The third realm of knowledge is “What you don’t even know that you don’t know”. Yeah! If you stop to consider all those things that you might not even know that you don’t know, judging other people is almost impossible. Most doctors wouldn’t try to diagnose a person with a 60-second glance. Perhaps we shouldn’t either.
Next time you see that healthy-appearing individual step out of a vehicle parked in the Reserved Parking, give that person the benefit of the doubt. There are just too many disabilities, conditions, and diseases that are easily masked or hidden, but that necessitate the use of Reserved Parking.
The third realm of knowledge is the largest realm. There is just too much that we don’t know to be so quick to jump to conclusions about someone’s parking decisions. Before you leave that nasty note or send them that death stare, chat them up. Start a conversation. One of my favorite aspects of the realms of knowledge is their fluidity. Perhaps, just perhaps, you might learn something new.