Dear Imprudence: Who Appointed You the Parking Police?
This week’s livechat with Prudence featured a question that seems to crop up endlessly, like, pretty much whenever a person with a disabled parking placard pulls up to a parking space and gets out of ou car:
Q. Parking Lot Etiquette: I live in an apartment that overlooks the building’s handicapped parking spots. I have noticed one young woman, who has a blue permit, using one of the three spots every day, as if it is her own. The problem is, when she gets out of her car, she has no visible handicap. I would also add that other residents have to pay for their own spot, and she drives a late model Audi, so I don’t think she’s too poor to pay herself. I suppose she may have some handicap that isn’t visible, but is that what the spaces near the door are really intended for? I notified the manager, who I don’t think is going to do anything, and will probably leave it at that. But am I crazy for letting this bother me? Signed, Auto Fixated.
Oh my stars, y’all! She’s, like, totally not disabled! ’cause she drives an Audi!
Prudence delivered the goods:
A: There have been interesting studies that show society actually functions better when certain people are willing to take on the role of unofficial police. Shaming the able-bodied who take handicapped parking spaces is a favorite outlet for these enforcers. However, the danger for such people is that they end up being unpleasant busybodies or worse. I have heard from many seemingly able-bodied people who have mild MS, say, but are constantly getting reamed out by “do-gooders” when they take a handicapped parking space. The woman you’re seeing has a permit, and you don’t know what might actually be wrong with her. She doesn’t appear to be preventing anyone who needs the space from filling it. So get over your fixation and find something that really needs fixing.
So, here’s the dealio, parking police: stop it.
No, really, that’s about all I have to say. A person with a disabled placard or plates owes no obligation to you. Is not required to specify and explain, in detail, the nature of ou disabilities. Period. Placards get assigned to people who need them1, and plenty of people who don’t have, ah, ‘visible handicaps’ do in fact need to take advantage of disabled parking spots. It’s nice that Prudence provided an example of a disability that might be nonevident, but still require the use of disabled parking, but, honestly? She didn’t need to. Because the takeaway lesson is that where people with disabilities park, and their disabilities, is not your business.
Yes, even if they are driving nice cars.
Additionally, if you do not need disabled parking because you are not disabled? Please stop using our damn parking already. Yes, even if it’s just for a minute. Yes, even if you were totally planning to move if someone needed it.
- And thanks to weird policies, some people who need them can’t get them. ↩