So, yesterday I actually put on pants and went out to the art store, Michael’s, to buy some frames for some art I got. While I was in the passenger seat, in the parking lot, waiting for my sister to get done fussing about and get my wheelchair out, I heard the unmistakeable sound of a Truck - with a capital T - pull up next to us. The noise caused me to look up. It was a big truck, but not nearly big enough to require the ridiculously large monster truck-esque wheels they had put on it. I had no choice but to roll my eyes. I was about to look away when I noticed they were half in the wheelchair loading zone, on the slanted blue lines that mean “Don’t park here!”
I watched them get out. The driver was a woman in her 50s, maybe 60s, who didn’t seem to be disabled in any way, but I know looks can be deceiving and not to judge and invisible illnesses are all too real. The second passenger I didn’t see much of, except for the walking away, also seemingly not disabled. Again, I was not going to judge by what I could see - invisible means invisible, after all. But I did notice there was no handicap parking permit hanging on their rearview mirror. Now normally I would just assume it was on their license plate and go on, but I was still rolling my eyes over the monster truck wheels and now was pissed they had parked half in the wheelchair loading zone when they - disabled as they may yet be - didn’t have a wheelchair to unload.
So when my sister came around to my side to help me, I asked her if that spot next to us was indeed handicap. She looked and said it was. Then she too noticed they were half in the loading zone. I said that they must have a handicap license plate then, but could she check for me, since I was, as I said, still rolling my eyes. She checked. They had no handicap parking permit. They were half in the wheelchair loading zone. And, to be frank, I didn’t like their stupid wheels. Idk why, I have a thing about people turning their regular trucks into monster trucks, I know this about myself.
But now my sister was pissed. She took a picture of their license plate and we went into the store. We go to the first employee we see and report to them that someone is in the handicap spot with no permit and is parked half in the loading zone. We tell them we have the license plate number. The employee says, “Oh, uh, okay, uh, go see our manager over there.” We go to the manager, but she is working a register and we have to wait in line behind two other people before we get to her. We tell her the same thing and she - decidedly uninterested and unconcerned - takes the license plate number from us. I describe the truck to her and emphasize how we were trying to use the wheelchair loading zone for my wheelchair. She still seems uninterested, but says she can call the township cops. We go on to do our shopping.
My sister says she doesn’t think they are actually going to call anyone or do anything. I agree and ask if we want to call the cops ourself. Sis says no, but that she is planning on writing a strongly worded email to their management center about how they didn’t seem to care, moved us along, and very clearly don’t have a policy in place for what to do if something like this is reported to them. Which they should. Every store should.
Once we went to the movie theater and all of the handicap spots were in use, in the middle of a very freezing winter day, so that we had to go across the entire parking lot in the bitter wind and chunks of slush and ice. As we went past the handicap spots, we looked at every rearview mirror and license plate and more than half of them did not have permits - probably daring the ticket because they didn’t want to navigate the icy lot any more than we did, but I was doing it in a wheelchair! When we got into the theater, we told the kid selling the tickets. He immediately waved his shift manager over and told him what was up. The shift manager apologized, gave me my ticket for free, and was on the phone with the police reporting it before we’d even gotten in line for our popcorn. They had a policy in place. They did it right. Today, at Michael’s, they did not.
I kept my eyes peeled in the store for the woman I had seen driving the truck. I planned - if we saw her - to start talking very loudly about how I hoped the cops had come to ticket that big truck for parking in a handicap spot like that. It would have been cathartic for me to watch her drop her items and scurry out of the store to move her truck. But I didn’t see her and when we came out, the truck was gone.
I got the items I needed for cheap and on sale, which was great, but I still think that today Michael’s did not get a passing grade.