Monday, June 19, 2017

"People in wheelchairs don't go to the gym," says man about blocking accessible parking.

Yes. That is what the man who claimed to be the owner of North American Land Development said to me in defense of his friend who blocked accessible parking with his big SUV.  Allow me to divulge the whole story.

I stopped through the parking lot for Planet Fitness and Books a Million as I sometimes do, in order to check for parking violations to report on the Parking Mobility App. While the image you are about to look at is dated, I've added some pertinent information with random art skills.

Click on image for larger view. Credit to Google Earth.
You can clearly see where I've marked the direction of the construction and Planet Fitness. You can see where the construction company taped off parking for their work. You can see where I parked and where he parked. Important fact here... row we parked in was NOT taped off.  Remember this.

Below for purpose of identification I will call them Owner, Friend (as in of the owner) and Me (for the dialogue). I guess you could call this a "things people say" when they block accessible parking because these guys hit on just about every single wrong thing there is.

I saw the SUV first parked across the blue lines where I indicated. But if you really need an closer view:

Wouldn't you just love to see someone try to get out of a wheelchair van there? Good thing it was just lil ol me parked on the left. Note again the lack of yellow construction tape except dangling from the pole. People were parked clear down  that aisle. It was NOT cordoned off.

So I got out my phone and opened the Parking Mobility App. It had me take down this photo and one of his license plate. I notated the location and went on to the next car in the next aisle over. Yes, there were two violations right across from each other. Not uncommon at all. While I was taking down that information someone called out to me. It was an elder man with white hair and another elder man in a cowboy hat.  Cowboy hat was the owner. I know this because he said it was his company through the hodge podge of dialect and excuses. It went pretty much like this.

Friend: You took pictures of my car.
I looked back at him:  Sir?
Friend: You took pictures of my car.
Me: I'm documenting use of accessible parking, sir.
Friend: I'm not in handicapped parking.
Me: You are parked on the blue lines for wheelchair access. That is illegal and you can get a ticket if they come by.
Friend: I'm 87 years old.
Me: There is no provision to the law by age, Sir.
Owner and Friend together: This is a construction site.
Me: It doesn't matter what you have over there, you parked over here.
Friend says to the Owner: You know what you should do, tape all this off and then none of em can park there!

I'll let you reread that last comment before I continue. 

The Friend left and I went to my car. When I got in it. The owner laughed and shook a finger at me. Then he pointed to the wheel chair symbol on the sign I had parked in front of. I casually lifted my index finger to direct him to the placard hanging from my rear view mirror. Then I got out of the car as he walked toward the driver's side.

Me: Sir?
Owner: You don't look that disabled.
Me: Are you a doctor?
Owner: No.
Me: My doctor disagrees with you. 
Owner: Fine. But he didn't stop you from parking.
Me: Sir, it's the law. Our opinions do not come into play. And if someone with a wheelchair van came here, they wouldn't be able to get out of their van or into it.
Owner: People in wheelchairs don't go to the gym.

I'll let you reread that last comment for the same effect as before.

This is what people need to learn. Their personal opinion does not overwrite the law. Age has nothing to do with being able to park in accessible parking. As another note, had I parked on the blue lines, I would have been in violation as well. It's illegal... period. 

The law is the law and it's time that the disabled community got some respect out of it.