Don’t put yourself in their place

Published 12:40 am Saturday, March 13, 2010

I was at McDonald’s on Friday morning, and while I was waiting for my order, I saw three young ladies — either teenagers or young adults (I’m at that age where it’s hard to tell the difference any more) — leave the restaurant with their food and get in a car parked in a space reserved for handicapped or disabled drivers.

None of them had any noticeable problem standing at the counter or walking out to the parking lot. Apparently, they also didn’t have a problem taking a space that wasn’t meant for them.

I know I’ve talked about this at some point in the last couple of months, but I want to make sure our readers get the point. Even if the fine for wrongly parking in the spaces hadn’t been quadrupled by the Demopolis City Council on Dec. 17 to $100 on the first offense — even if there were no charge for parking there unnecessarily — those spaces are reserved to make it easier for those who have difficulty walking or getting to the store or restaurant where the parking spaces are located.

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I don’t care what excuse you may have:

“I’m just going to be a minute,”

“There are several other handicap spaces around here,”

“No one ever uses them, anyway.”

“They never write tickets for this, anyway.”

It doesn’t matter that you’re driving a car with a handicap license plate or a hanging placard on the rearview mirror. If you or someone in your car doesn’t need — really need — to use those special spaces, they are not there for you to use.

Put your car in one of the standard parking spaces and get a little exercise by walking that distance to the business entryway, and be thankful that you can do so.

The day may come when you, too, really need the convenience of the handicap parking spaces and someone who just wants to shave 30 seconds off of his not-really-busy schedule parks his car there instead.

Think about that when you want to park in a space that is not meant for you.

When it comes to parking in a space meant for someone with a handicap or disability, don’t put yourself in their place.

David B. Snow is the managing editor of The Demopolis Times.