A few weeks ago, I was down for the count with a viral bug. I had to cancel my meeting for the high risk donor pool & it was upsetting (as it happened the night before).
I went to my primary care doctor’s office just to get a few things to help me battle it better & my meds to stay in. That went ok, & then my friend took me to CVS.
Where I saw this greet me:
There are exactly 4 disabled parking spaces on that side of the CVS in front of the store. One was already occupied by someone with a permit.
But this UPS truck decided that his delivery was more important than keeping even one spot open.
Luckily, we found a spot close to the front on the other side where my friend could park while I went into pick up my prescription & a few other things.
As I went back to the pharmacy (even though I wasn’t feeling well), I did wheel my concentrator into a few aisles & looked down the sides of the aisles to see if I could find the UPS driver to educate him as to why his parking was a problem.
To no avail, but I got home with the plate number & the photo.
By that time I had been in bed a few days & was restless so I tweeted out the photo to a few of my Twitter friends who were advocates (thanks Dominick & Gregg) with a somewhat snarky tag “Pretty sure this is illegal.”
Lo, & behold about 10 minutes after we had an exchange & they retweet it, I get a reply from the UPS online help desk that manages their Twitter account.
Then within 30 minutes, a call from the local manager in my area. I was impressed with the response time & attentiveness. The manager really listened.
Both the help desk rep & manager who called me seemed to understand that not only was this illegal, but extremely short-sighted & needed to be corrected & addressed.
They actually apologized which many companies don’t even bother to do with complaints anymore.
They said they would address it & talk to the driver. I do believe they did.
That was a few weeks ago.
As I run out, I often swing by that CVS & I am happy to report I’ve not seen this occur again so the talk must have been effective.
It’s kind of refreshing to see this too for another reason.
I wasn’t having to “prove” how disabled I was to anyone for them to address this concern.
I still sometimes get dirty looks from people when I park in disabled spots with a permit as I’m loading and unloading my oxygen concentrator (machine).
My nose tubing doesn’t stretch around the car, so I have to do a bit of maneuvering here and there & sometimes take it off a few seconds when I’m loading in & out. Even when people can clearly see it, I get stares.
I’ve even had a few others park in a disabled spot beside me with their permits & push their grocery carts into the path of my concentrator or my car as I’m maneuvering around.
I understand that it might be difficult to use the corral. But to impede on my space & limit my mobility does frustrate me. Especially, when it’s people who have a disability like me throwing up those obstacles.
I don’t publicly shame them or leave notes even though I’ve been tempted.
I often let it roll off, but I get very close to getting vocal with something really egregious, when it is. Like sometimes when I’m at my door & they push the cart right at me as I’m loading or unloading.
But this was a good reminder to me why I might be getting glares from time-to-time.
Many times people don’t even stop to think how their actions affect another human being because they are too rushed & distracted to take a moment to care or be aware of their surroundings.
People also often don’t understand disability, even sometimes those who are disabled themselves, unfortunately. But we are all human.
The general public is quite unaware of what it takes to get a permit in the first place. It’s not as easy as it seems.
I’m glad to see though in different sectors & media spaces some awareness being done.
I take issue with some of the wording used here in this article, but agree with the intent & overall message that it’s important to teach dialysis patients & others to not feel guilt if they need to use a permit.
I certainly felt a tinge of awkwardness & guilt sometimes when I started using mine.
I hope more people start paying attention & trying to be mindful of all disabilities, visible or invisible, period.
I’m glad UPS clearly saw the issue, acknowledged my concern, & rectified it. It is to their credit.
I hope other companies take such an approach if & when things like this get reported to them. Small steps do make a difference.
I see so many examples of discrimination & minimization of such issues, I like sharing it when companies make sincere overtures to make corrections.