Recently I went to the grocery store. I parked and as I was walking towards the store I noticed a young adult, perhaps in his early 20s, park in the handicapped space. I watched him get out of his car, noticed he did not seem handicapped nor did he have a handicap placard, and he went on in to the store.
Shortly after, an elderly man with a handicapped placard on his rearview mirror as well as the sticker on his license plate pulled in and noticed that all of the handicapped parking spaces were full. It was slightly busy so he was forced to park a little ways away. When he got out of his car, he had a cane and seemed to have trouble walking all the way from his spot to the entrance to the store. He walked past the young man’s car right when the young man was getting back into his car.
The young man got back into his car, turned up the music loud, whipped out of his spot and was on his way while the elderly man barely made it into the store at that point.
I was extremely disappointed in that young man for he didn’t seem handicapped at all nor did he have any placard or sticker on his plate, yet he still parked in the handicapped space. I was disappointed because that was a terrible thing for him to do when others that truly are handicapped needed the space that is designated specifically for them.
What is wrong with people?
— Frustrated with the phonies
Dear Frustrated with the phonies,
You have every right to be upset with the young man if he was indeed not handicapped. The handicapped placards are for individuals in our community that need the closer parking space due to a physical disability they may have.
According to the Arizona Motor Vehicle Services website, these are the reasons why a person in the community is entitled to apply for a placard and should be able to park in handicapped spaces:
• You are not able to walk 200 feet without resting.
• You are not able to walk without the help of another, a cane, wheelchair, crutch, or prosthetic device.
• You have lung disease that handicaps your ability to breathe without a respirator.
• You require portable oxygen.
• You have a cardiac condition with Class 3 or 4 limitations as outlined by the American Heart Association.
• You are restricted by an arthritic, neurological, or orthopedic condition that hinders your ability to walk.
Sadly, people in our community who are not handicapped take advantage of this convenience that is only supposed to be available for those who truly have a disability and tend to use other people’s placards even though they are not handicapped themselves. What this does is exactly what you just described. People that are not handicapped park in these handicapped spaces just because they have custody of the placard or the license plate temporarily, thus preventing the truly handicapped from having the benefit to park up close.
It is simple. Handicapped spaces are only meant and designated for the truly handicapped members of our community. If you are borrowing someone’s car that has the handicapped license plate or placard, do the right thing. Don’t park in a handicapped space if you are not handicapped.
• Ahwatukee Foothills resident Michelle “Mikey” Arana is a 2003 graduate of Mountain Pointe High School. She offers free peer advice, however, Mikey is not licensed or trained, just a fellow friend to the community. All inquiries made to Mikey will remain anonymous unless legal issues occur. She can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.