Nasty note on Vernon, B.C., windshield accuses woman of abusing accessible parking
Vernon woman issues plea to be considerate, saying many chronic illnesses are invisible
A Vernon, B.C., woman is reminding others to be considerate of those with disabilities after someone left a hateful note on the windshield of her mother's car that was parked in an accessible parking spot.
Bailey MacDonald said her mother Medea Gunnip lives with fibromyalgia and chronic pain following a car accident.
On Oct. 29, Gunnip was parked outside of the Walmart Vernon Supercentre with a properly displayed accessible parking permit when she found the note.
She handed the paper to MacDonald and jokingly referred to it as a "love note."
You can see the full note below:
Outraged, MacDonald took to social media, posting an image of the note and a plea to the public in defence of her mother and others like her with disabilities.
'My first reaction was definitely to be angry'
"My first reaction was definitely to be angry. It was only in stepping back that I calmed down and really decided that I needed to think about this in a different way," MacDonald told CBC in an interview.
"Anytime that something like this happens, we have the opportunity to really address the issue in a positive light."
In her Facebook post, MacDonald gave the author of the note the benefit of the doubt saying, "I imagine you rationalized that you were doing a noble thing. That you were advocating for people with 'real disabilities."
She then pointed out that many chronic illnesses are invisible and urged the author to be more considerate going forward.
"That note could've done a lot of damage to somebody, and I'm so lucky that my mom is so brave and was able to shake it off the way that she did," said MacDonald.
Her Facebook post has since received hundreds of likes and positive comments.
'You can't just assume'
The Council of Canadians with Disabilities says such accusations of people abusing the accessible system happen "from-time-to-time," though most instances are not reported.
"You can't just assume that someone is abusing the system or not," said Bob Brown, chair of the council's transportation committee.
"If somebody has gone through the trouble of getting a bona fide disabled parking permit ... they're entitled to it."
Brown said there are more drivers with heart conditions who have accessible permits than there are drivers who use walkers or wheelchairs.
He also said if a bystander is convinced a driver is breaking the law, they should record the licence plate number and report it to local authorities rather than confronting them directly.
With files from CBC's Radio West.