There is an old saying that you “can judge a book by its cover” but it doesn’t matter how many times we say it, most of us are still guilty of doing it. We see a situation unfolding in front of us and almost without thinking, we have everything sized up. This not only includes what is happening, it also includes the people who are involved.
We tend to make snap judgments about others but in the end, they usually come back to haunt us in some way or another. After all, we rarely can see the entire picture when we judge someone quickly. This can often occur when it comes to somebody parking in a handicapped parking spot. We want to keep them available for others who have a handicap sticker on their car, but it pays to know the whole story before we speak up.
After all, a disability does not always mean that we will be in a wheelchair, so there may be people who park in those spaces legitimately, even though they don’t look handicapped. This is something that happened to a 41-year-old woman who suffers from multiple sclerosis. If you were to see Justine from across the parking lot, it would not necessary look like she was handicapped.
Multiple sclerosis, however, is a progressive disease and it has affected her with numbness in her hands and feet for many years. It has also progressively gotten worse.
“It’s difficult, every day it gets a little bit harder. I can’t do zips up, can’t do buttons up, probably won’t be able to drive soon and lose a bit more independence, unfortunately.”
There may be people who see Justine pulling into a handicap parking spot and getting out of her car to walk in the store. Immediately, they judge her as doing something inappropriate. Some people even taken a step further and give her a hard time.
Justine has been in this type of situation for a long time. She was out recently for an outing with her daughter and when she got back to her car, she saw a note on the windshield. This was the straw that broke the camels back, so she posted the picture and voiced her story on Facebook.
Justine wasn’t trying to get sympathy for her situation, she was making a statement. If somebody reading it would learn something from her Facebook post, it could make a difference. The post has gone viral.
“To person that left this on my car last week at Mitcham Shopping Centre – I was diagnosed with Multiple Sclerosis when I was 35. Not just MS but the worst one that never goes away and is slowly crippling my life. My kids have had to deal with things that kids shouldn’t ever have to deal with and all of our futures are forever changed.
On the day you saw me I was having a good day, I was walking with my daughter unaided having a nice day. Thank you for ruining that. You made me feel like people were looking at me, the exact way I feel when I can’t walk properly. I am sick of people like yourself abusing me on my good days for using a facility I am entitled to. A disability doesn’t always mean a person has to be wheelchair bound but lucky for you I one day will be. Right now my focus is to walk into my best friends wedding next September and not have to be pushed. I will be 42. Before you ruin another persons day remember you don’t know everything and just because you can’t see it it doesn’t mean a person isn’t struggling to put one foot in front of the other.”
Since Justine posted the message, she started getting worldwide support. We hope her story spreads and that people recognize that not everything is as it seems.
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