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Old November 9th, 2008, 04:02 PM
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Default Handicapped Parking Abuse

Cruise-Chat is designed for anything even those things that don't involve all of our favorite type of vacation.

That being said, I'd like to learn your opinions on something we see everyday, Handicapped Parking.

First of all please understand one thing. I personally am far beyond being merely eligible for handicapped parking but I refuse to even think about applying for a parking permit for reasons that will become readily apparent.

Do any of you guys/gals ever wonder about all those handicapped parking permits on vehicles out there? I don't know about other areas, but around here it seems that almost half of the vehicles I see have them. Yet I literally cannot remember since I've seen an obviously handicapped or especially a very elderly individual ever park in a handicapped space. Why, you ask? Because they're always full...usually of vehicles belonging to people who look fine to me if...how do I say this delicately....a tad "round" (as am I).

And before anyone goes into orbit, I am fully cognizant that there are those who are severely handicapped who don't exhibit any outward symptoms at first look. As a matter of fact, I'm one and I wouldn't so much as THINK about taking a handcapped space that should be used by an elderly or handicapped person restricted to a walker or a wheel chair.

Yet I swear, almost every time I see a "handicapped" person get into or out of one of those vehicles, there either doesn't seem to be anything wrong or if there is, it's obviously associated with the fact that they're morbidly obese. Yet I'm constantly seeing folks, most of them elderly, with walkers or in wheelchairs having to park in regular parking areas far from their destination. Similarly, when I go into Wal-Mart, I rarely see really elderly and/or truly disabled folks using the available electric shopping carts designed for that purpose. It's almost always folks much younger whose only apparent affliction is that they obviously can't tear themselves away from the buffet at Ryan's (a place a former neighbor referred laughingly refers to as "The Hog Trough" and for good reason as they are frequently twice my girth or more).

I know almost anyone can find a doctor that will provide them handicapped parking application approval for anything a bit over a head cold. But c'mon Mates, what happened to basic respect and support for our really seriously disabled and elderly? Just this afternoon I saw a guy who appeared perfectly normal, around 35-40 years old, dressed all in camouflage putting a tree stand into the back of his pick-up truck that sported a Disabled Driver License Plate in which he was the only occupant and which was parked right in front of a store in a handicapped space as, and I'm not kidding you here sportsfans, a gentleman about eighty with a walker had to pass to get to his car that was parked fifteen vehicles down the line.

Does this issue fire any of you'uns up or is it just me?

Todd
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Old November 9th, 2008, 06:14 PM
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As a nurse I have learned not to judge some one by "how they look". I can never know what they may suffer in their daily lives.

As a patient, I know that not as something a Nurse should know, but as something I myself have gone through.

Do some people abuse it, yup, and guess what, people who abuse the system are every where, but over all,I will leave it to the police to ask the driver for their permit from the government. ( where I live, you have the [plastic sign for the window, but the person who was given the right to use this pass must be in the car).
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Old November 9th, 2008, 06:19 PM
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This is one thing that irritates me to the edge. I work with the physically and mentally handicapped. I cannot count the times we had to park our vans out further in the lot. Another thing that irrtates me is someone who parks in the yellow striped spots next to the hanicapped spots. Those places are to accommodate the wheel chair lifts from the vans. So many times we would come out to find that we cannot load out clients because we could not let the lift down. When we have 6 wheel chairs to load it is inconvenient and dangerous to have to move the van out in the road to let the lift down. Sometimes we leave the lifts down to keep people from parking there.
I agree that there are many people with handicap validation that have nothing wrong with them other than being lazy. Show a little respect for those that need to have those spaces. Walk a few more feet it will do you a lot of good and free a space for someone who needs it.

Laura
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Old November 9th, 2008, 06:48 PM
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I too agree 100%! It seems to me that more often than not, someone will come screeching into a handicapped spot, look around for their handicapped permit (in Florida it's a plastic thingy that hangs from the rear view mirror) they hang it up, then bound out of the vehicle and sprint into the store. I also agree that it's sometimes very hard to establish if, and what, the handicap is,,,,but most of the time I have to believe it's stupidity!

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Old November 9th, 2008, 06:50 PM
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I also agree there is way to much abuse of this. Both my parents have handicap stickers, but they deserve them. Neither one can walk very far at one time. Most of the time they go to WalMart they can not get a handicap spot and end up having to walk way to far. I had to actually beg both of them to get the sticker, they waited long past the time that they really could have gotten one, both saying I don't want to take it away from somebody that really needs it. Well, both of them really need it now. I see so many people using the slots that I stop and think, they look so healthy on the outside, what could be wrong that they have used a parking space that my parents really need to be using and can't.
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Old November 9th, 2008, 06:57 PM
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In Houston, a civilian can become "certified" to write citations to those they witness abusing or unlawfully using the space or the placard.

I would love to be able to do this as I, too, witness this abuse every day.

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Old November 9th, 2008, 07:20 PM
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Be very careful every one, to think you can go to a person and determine their disability from the outside is truly scary to me. I like our system here, you have a plastic thing yes, but one must drive with the permit ( paper ) specific to the person if they are using it.

But I cannot stress enough, dont be so quick to judge some one from the out side, and I really truly mean that.

You ask what conditions could warrant a need that you do not see? Lots, cardiac, lung , patients getting treatments that deplete their red blood cells and can barely get out of bed some days with out gasping for breath let alone into the store, RA in their joints, certainain neurological disordes.

I dont say there is not abuse, but don't ever be so quick to judge some one by the outside, go with me just one week where I get my treatments, I guarantee you , that you would not guess that 90% of the people there have serious, difficult issues.......and they all take pride in making them selves look the best that they can.

My foster brother is now in a wheel chair, hit by a drunk driver. He once got so mad at some one for parking in a spot, since he really needs one being in a wheelchair now, he yelled at her, the son that was with her started to cry and said "leave my mummy alone, she has a bad heart problem". In fact she was waiting for a transplant. Tom told me that was by far one of the most humiliating things he has ever done, and five years later he still brings it up as he still feels terrible he did that to her........
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Old November 9th, 2008, 07:34 PM
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I have to say, that it is rare here, and I am sure it is because we have a much smaller population. I rarely see any issues with all the handicapped parking being full. There is nearly always a slot available. I really don't see too many abusers here either. I attribute it to the small town atmosphere. Everybody knows you around here. If you pulled a stunt like`that in this neck of the woods, it wouldn't be long til someone would be giving you a rash of carp about it. Accountability is a wonderful thing!
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Old November 9th, 2008, 08:51 PM
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Delft,

I am sure things are better in Canada as you certainly must not have the level of such abuse as do we in the states nor in other parts of this country such as the part of Indiana in which you live, Beenieweenie. And believe me, I am not condemning everyone who doesn't look disabled. I'm surprised Beenieweenie that this area isn't more like yours (our town's population is 16,000) except that the entire county comes into town and the county's population is over 60,000.

But I will tell you this. For almost ten years I operated both a senior citizen as well as an adjoining family complex and I had a number of tenants who were disabled and had handicapped parking permits and many who were getting subsidy from the government based upon their "status" of being "disabled" and they too of course had their handicapped parking permits. Understand before anyone jumps down my throat for being insensitive, I'm anything but however you should know that if you are a private apartment complex that participates in a government program (i.e.: HUD Section 8 and USDA Rural Development programs) you are absolutely forbidden to ask a person what their handicap is. The only verification an applicant need provide is a document (now are you sitting down folks?) that only requires the signature of.......drumroll please......virtually ANYONE who knows them (friend, brother, casual friend, cousin three times twice removed who merely agreEs the applicant is disabled!!!!! No physican statement required, NOTHING! If you don't believe me, please, I invite you to investigate. To be eligible for "disabled" status one only need be receiving SSI AS to receive SSI, one must be disabled (you wouldn't even begin to believe what often the "disability" is). These are the people in this area who often rush out to get the disabled license plates. I had one resident whose freely admitted disability was that he "felt strange" and couldn't work. That my friends is the truth. Alright, that's fine, but why did he obtain, legally, a handicapped parking permit? He certainly was disabled but not in any way that negatively impacted his ability to drive and it certainly didn't effect any other physical abilities as he occasionally obtained work paying "under the table."

We had only a limited number of handicapped parking spaces yet virtually everyone in the Senior complex and several in the Family complex had a handicapped parking permit even though many were in no way physically handicapped and that I knew for a fact. Even though it was against every law to do so, I finally assigned those who were truly handicapped a space and forbid any other resident to park in the remainder as they were reserved for "handicapped visitors." The ten or fifteen residents to whom this edict was intended knew better than to even think about "crying" about it.....to anyone! In fact many of them fell all over themselves to agree that it was the "proper thing to do."

Now think about it. If I had ten or fifteen such residents in my complex (and these were the two most beautiful complexes in town regardless of their rents being Federally subsidized). There are about eight or ten other complexes in this county (some much larger) who have even greater numbers of such people residing in them. And these are only the apartment complexes!!!!

When I wrote my original post, I had forgot completely about the above situation and was almost going to feel some remorse about the original post. After recalling it, I'm not only not remorseful, I'm incensed even more!

Ah well, I guess that's the way our society goes. And people wonder why there is such a growth in the nostalgia industry aimed at those over 50.

Todd
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Old November 9th, 2008, 09:00 PM
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In Order to get handicapped parking in my province, the person with disability must get a referal from a physician, to get a consult with an occuptational therapist who must do an evaluation of the medical file, the patients medical issues, and determine what they may need or may not need. Its not an easy process.

I dont say I dont see people using the pass issued to grandma when she is not in the car, abuse is every where, but I am again exceptionally cautious when judging a persons limits based on looks.
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Old November 9th, 2008, 09:35 PM
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I had to get a handicapped sign for my mother when she was undergoing chemotherapy and couldn't walk from the car into the hospital.
As Delft said, it was not an easy process, and they are very strict. If I drove her car without her in it, I had to remove the sign, and the first thing the gov't wanted back from me after she died was that sign!

I do see a lot of people parked in handicapped spots that are not elderly, in a wheelchair or otherwise "handicapped-looking", however, I agree with Delft that many handicaps are hidden. Back problems, breathing problems, heart problems, the list goes on, so we can't be too quick to judge.

It's the able bodied ones with NO sticker or sign who hog the spaces that get me enraged!

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Old November 9th, 2008, 11:01 PM
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I think this is a problem everywhere. There may be some cities that try to enforce it more than others but I live in Lexington, Ky. and can tell you it's not enforced and the police have no interest in even trying to do so.
Yes, I know there are people who are handicapped and need the parking decal. But I know for a fact there's widespread abuse. People use the decals from dead people, parents, grandparents, etc.
My wife works in the mall. She worked with a 56 year old woman who had
a disabled husband. When he was in the car, she should have used the handicapped space. When he was not with her, she had no more right to do so than any other person. When her husband died a few years ago, she kept right on using the decal and parking in the handicapped spaces. When my wife mentioned it to her, she became upset and said she parked there because they were wider spaces and didn't want to get her car banged up !
She transferred to another location and guess what--she still uses the same decal and parks in the handicapped spaces. A young lady, about 22-23 yrs. old works there now. Her boyfriend supposedly is handicapped. They have a decal, but the young lady comes to work by herself, parks in the handicapped spaces and when my wife mentioned it to her, her response was " well, if people are too old or unable to walk across the parking lot, they don't need to be at the mall in the first place ! "-- go figure.
I have seen abuse galore. I saw a young couple one night come out of the mall--it was raining--they proceeded to do a Gene Kelly imitation of " Singing and Dancing in the Rain " all the way to their car--yep--in a handicapped space. I doubt that they had a heart condition, bad back, lumabgo, arthritis, malformed joints, etc.
I have talked to the mall security. They admitted it was a problem but said there was actually nothing they could do. I talked to the police. They said they couldn't trace a decal to see who it was registered to and even if they could, they couldn't do anything because it was private property.
I called the county clerk. He stated that the police could indeed call in and find out to whom a handicapped decal was issued if they wanted to. I called the county attorney and he stated the police could indeed find out and that they could indeed issue tickets and that he would indeed prosecute the abusers. So, the police don't care, the mall can't or won't do anything and good luck to any truly handicapped person who needs a parking spot. That's the way it is in my town.
If you come to Lexington, are handicapped and find any handicapped spaces, chances are they will be occupied and more likely than not, occupied by someone who isn't handicapped. But on the other hand, if you're too old or not able to walk across the parking lot, then you shouldn't be out anyway !!
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Old November 10th, 2008, 12:29 AM
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ToddDH said "Delft, I am sure things are better in Canada as you certainly must not have the level of such abuse as do we in the states nor in other parts of this country such as the part of Indiana in which you live, Beenieweenie."

Yes, Todd, things are much better in Canada, since we only use those car-things to which you refer for urgent reasons... preferring dog sleds or showshoes for our daily commute to work making ice cubes for export. The handicapped area in front of the Wal Mart Igloo is normally just for show, anyhow. We tend to use it to load up our beer, cigs and bacon.....
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Old November 10th, 2008, 11:34 AM
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This, too, bothers me. I'm sure the system is abused. That is just a sign of our times. However, I don't try to decide exactly who is abusing the privilege and who isn't.

My DH draws a Disabled Veteran's benefit. When we applied for his license plate, they asked if we "wanted" a handicapped" plate. The answer was a simple "No." Thankfully!
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Old November 10th, 2008, 02:20 PM
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So many definitions of the word "handicapped" and people that in today’s society suddenly now qualify to get "that badge".

Maybe we should not be so PC, and the parking areas should go back to the roots of how they were meant to be in the first place regarding these spaces and change the wording on the tarmac to say, wheelchair or crutches only.

They show the wheelchair as a symbol, so why not enforce that as the reality.

A lot of folks have these badges because someone decided they now have a handicap, sorry, but you are mixing up the word disability, with handicap. They are different and a disability does not always mean you cannot walk 30 yards more to get to the store, but they have a badge, so its okay,,,WRONG

Put it this way my late Mother in Law before she died was physically fit, but her eyesight was going, so she was given a disabled parking permit,,,WHY. She could not drive to the mall, my wife did and she could walk my MIL from wherever they parked at that mall and back to the car. There is an example and NO disrespect, but why give blind people a parking permit?
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Old November 10th, 2008, 02:39 PM
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So does that mean some one who cannot walk more than 5-10 feet without almost collapsing not be issued a handicapped parking pass because they are not in a wheelchair? I mean, many disabled people can and still do drive, does it mean my friend who had polio and uses crutches but gets around faster than most should use the handicapped spots? No, she doesnt use them, because she doesnt need them nor has she ever applied for a permit, but she may need it in the future as many who had polio get worse as they age ( post polio syndrome) and then she will apply. Regarding how they do it in my province, I hope they continue to leave it up to the doctors and OT's etc to decide who is medically able to walk across a parking lot and who isnt.

Oh and since my foster brother backs up his electric wheelchair out the BACK of the van, he is the first one to say he doesnt need handicapped parking, but he has one , he can virtually go in any spot as he drives sitting in the wheelchair and parks, and then he literally backs out the back side of the trunk ( there is a ramp that comes out of the van from the back) and not only that, because he has an electric wheelcair, he is usually the first one in the store.
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Old November 10th, 2008, 03:01 PM
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Sorry, but are you taking that out on me, if you are,,then confused. As I posted nothing that warranted that, but willing to explain on each point if you feel I did or want to break the post down.

But if a person cannot walk 10ft, yes they should be in a wheelchair in most scenarios outside their home, including malls
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Old November 10th, 2008, 05:01 PM
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Delft and Dayvid,

If DayvidB would allow, I believe I can clarify a bit what he meant.

Correct me if I'm wrong Dayvid, but I don't believe you in any way shape or form meant nor for that reason, has anyone who has contributed to this thread meant other than those individuals who can't but walk short distances [/b]as a result of any infirmity, SHOULD be the ones for whom handicapped spaces are reserved.

I don't know where you live but if you are not native to this country and its confusing definitions, allow me to explain. The terms Disabled and handicapped are used interchangeably by most people. For instance, a "Handicapped Parking Space" is designed to be used by a physically disabled individual. To make it more confusing, disabled individuals don't have to be handicapped. I don't know how to make it any more confusing.

The gist however is simply this. From my own personal observations, I would not in the least be surprised to learn those whose health doesn't require that much assistance, makes up a majority of such users (though I fervently hope not). The vast majority of those who must use Handicapped spaces have either impaired breathing and/or coronary issues. In any event both types must use a handicapped parking space closest to the entrance of the building, precluding the necessity of them possibly suffering adverse issues going from their vehicle to the entrance. I nor do I believe anyone has any a problem with that. Yet, amazingly, it doesn't bother a huge and ever increasing number of people with varying degrees of these issues to spend the next hour or sometimes much longer walking throughout a mall for a distance totaling probably more than a quarter mile, yet these same people can't walk up to at most, a few hundred feet (and most often far less) to a store entrance.

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Old November 10th, 2008, 05:15 PM
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I am sorry, but I do understand what has been written. I dont however agree. After all is a handicap a disability? Or is a disability a handicap? They are interchangable in my mind as a health care proffessional. A patient coming to me saying they are either handicaspped or disabled is the same. In fact, if you want to be politically correct, we dont use the word Handicapped any more, in fact the word used now is disability.

I also question the constant back and forth regarding malls. This type of parking exists every where, the bank, the pharmacy, the grocer, the HOSPITAL. People with heart and lung issues can often walk slowly in a controlled enviroment, they cannot walk in very cold weather like we have in winter or worse yet in humid smog filled air mid summer. I know many people wo very happiliy go to a mall, and use a walker or wheelchair, or their shopping cart ( watch a short of breath person, a person in pain, they will always use the shopping cart as a walker, health proffessionals always recomend that)

My point is, lets stop judging people on what they look like. You dont like what you see, lobby your government to have in place better rules governing how a pass is given out and to whom and after what criteria is met.

All I am saying, and with significant passion , dont jusdge people for how they look to you, NO ONE can ever and I mean ever know what that persons limitations are or are not.

This will be the last I comment.
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Old November 10th, 2008, 05:26 PM
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All opinions aside...the last research I saw on the subject was that LESS than 1/2 of those sporting the stickers are entitled to one. Note that they do not expire and are hard difficult to trace to a living human.

I have a friend that has one because he takes his 92 year old grandmother to the store.
The sticker was issued to her but he keeps it in his truck.

To his credit I have not seen him abuse having the placard.

I DO have a problem with Home Depot having 36 (THIRTY SIX) spaces right by the entrance.
I know it is based on the total number of spaces but come on!!
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Old November 10th, 2008, 07:22 PM
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Food for thought. I live in south florida, handicap sticker heaven. How is it that these people need the spot so close to the store but then go in and spend and hour walking all around the store. The mall!!! early saturday and sunday mornings the mall opens (not the stores) for the mall walkers to exercise. They park in all the handicap spots and then go in and do 20 laps around the inside of the mall. Doing the work I do and knowing the multitude of people who have handicap priveledges I would say about 90%abuse it. My younger brother has one cause of a fused disc in his neck. Like many others the abuse comes in usually when a lot is crowded and it is a time saver. Have a heart attack? the MD will right for a sticker. Guess what, the walking will do you good. And, for anyone going to Disney world, it is not uncommon to here people discuss going and all the long lines. inevitably someone usually says "we bring so and so with their wheelchair (which that person doesn't need) and all 12 of us go right to the front of the lines. And, for some reason, down here people read differently. The words "fire lane" mean park here and wait for your wife to come out of the store. If this topic really irritates you, stay out of South Florida.
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Old November 10th, 2008, 09:05 PM
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There will always be abuse, but I agree that there are many people who's disabiltiy/handicap are not visible and should not be judged.

I think the system needs work...hubby nearly lost his leg to a bone tumor and couldn't even get a temporary one! He was in a cast for months, brace for months then crutches/cane...out of work for 2 years. There were times it was really a pain to get him where he needed to go or even just to get out for a change of scenery.
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Old November 11th, 2008, 12:11 PM
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Handicapped parking abuse is one of my biggest pet pet peeves. I see it quite often. I have a disability that is often not too noticeable but I often need to use a cane for stability. My neurologist and physical therapist asked if I wanted a handicapped permit for our vehicle. I refused. There are a lot more people who need it more than I do.

What I have seen are people who have very legitimate reasons who do need one and should have them. However, there are, like rescuedad pointed out, those such as the "Mall Walkers" who load up the handicapped parking at the malls and then proceed to walk four miles around the mall. Something doesn't make sense here. If they are recovering from a heart problem then parking in a handicapped spot doesn't really help them too much in their recovery.

My father was a paraplegic and received one of the first handicapped plates that were ever issued in Minnesota. He used a manual wheelchair and with Minnesota winters it was a great help to have a parking space near the entrance to a store or mall. We learned at a young age what those spaces were for and that you don't ever use them unless you REALLY need them. If you have a physical problem that impedes your mobility, if walking or moving on uneven surfaces could cause you to fall or if you can only walk a short distance, then by all means, get a handicapped permit. If you don't have these problems or you can walk around the store, on your own, for an hour then think about others who really do need that spot.

I do want to relate a story from when I was in my late teens when my brother and I were waiting, in my brother's truck, for my other brother at a local mall. A guy came in and parked in the handicapped space. He had no placard or plate and was evidently not handicapped. My brother stuck his head out the window and asked the guy to move his car. His response was a one finger salute followed by the oral f-you. That didn't sit well with my brother. His truck was a Ford F-250 and the guy's car was a Chevy Vega. My brother looked at me with a nasty smile and said "Let's teach him a lesson." We backed up the truck to the Vega and hooked my brother's tow strap to the car and "dragged" the car across the parking lot. It was completely out of sight of where it was originally parked. When the guy came back out we just told him. "It was towed." We didn't lie. The only thing was that the back bumper was a little "Kock-eyed". We have no idea if he found his car but I bet he never parked in a handicapped zone again.
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Old November 11th, 2008, 12:27 PM
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Mike, bully for you and your brother!! I'll vote for either or both of you for president next time !!
Thanks for doing something decent for the true handicapped folks and for trying to teach a nut a lesson !!
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Old November 11th, 2008, 12:45 PM
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Mike,

I concur with Ron in Spades! And I really shouldn't as I'm retired law enforcement.

Todd
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Old November 11th, 2008, 01:26 PM
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That was much more effective than what we did as kids in high school:
We'd let the air out of the tires and leave a can of "Fix-a-Flat" next to each one.
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Old November 11th, 2008, 03:31 PM
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oooohhhhhh....you guys are mean.

Todd
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Old November 11th, 2008, 05:23 PM
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I feel the whole thing or problem is given the number of reasons or excuses given by some for a disabled permit, it takes away from those that really need it.

As for those that ignore all the rules and as people TOTALLY FIT, and IGNORANT, feel they have the arrogance to park in said bays and just to be closer to the mall or whatever...I hope their legs fall off soon... , then they may understand why these bays are reserved.
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Old November 11th, 2008, 10:21 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by ToddDH
oooohhhhhh....you guys are mean.

Todd

No..."mean" is propping a couple nails up against the forward and reverse sides of at least two tires, now that's mean.

I hardly ever did that.
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Old November 12th, 2008, 03:32 AM
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My first wife had a heart ailment that caused her to pass out if she exercised physical exertion to walk a distance. The handicap was not readily apparent and I have seen many like this.

My second wife had metastatic breast cancer and she could not walk distances. She used an electric cart while in the stores and her handicap was not readily apparent.

When I finally weaned myself from my neckbrace, bodybrace, and walker, I still had to take it easy because of my broken neck, neck, and poor circulation from coming back from the dead... LITERALLY! At this time, I had no apparent visible handicap but I still had problems walking distances.

Give people a break. You never know what is going on in those bodies.
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