A friend a fellow Friedreich's Ataxia (FA) patient (who lives in Australia) names Leah Alstin recently made this post on Instagram and Facebook:
"I really dislike doing these posts. I am such a happy person & give absolutely everyone the benefit of the doubt. Everyone is going through something. I am not a person who expects help or 'special consideration'. I am getting no satisfaction out of likes or sympathetic comments (in regard to this post 😉). Here goes...
I just went to the Supermarket in Newtown. Sometimes I park in a disabled parking spot (as I am entitled to, as I hold a current disabled parking permit). I do not display this when I am driving (legally, I am not required to) as I don't like to be 'labeled'. However, I ALWAYS display it before I enter the carpark & while I am utilising the space. Today it was very hot & windy, so I decided to use the disabled car park.
A middle aged man saw me display my permit BEFORE I entered the park. He still decided to shake his head, wave his arms & mutter abuse at me. So noticeable that a lovely, caring man walked past my car & said 'are you ok?'
I proceeded to get my walking frame out of the boot, stand there for a bit, in the hope that the angry man would see me, & believe that I am disabled 😰 how sad that I feel I need to do this.
I saw the lovely man in the supermarket & again, he said 'are you ok?' I said yes & told him how I'd been yelled at. He said 'I know, I saw'.
I am young (relatively 🙈), I drive a nice car, I have young children...and I also have a disability. This post is purely trying to educate the world 🌎 maybe this man had a bad morning & needed to express his frustration. That is fine but OMG buddy, you're lucky I can't run & I can't handle confrontation. This is not the first time it has happened. Moral of the story...never judge a book by its cover & don't try to enforce the law unless you've had adequate training. Please can you share? Educate people?"
I thought her post was worth sharing as a gentle reminder not to judge those you do not know. Unfortunately, the same thing happens to me frequently (I'm 29 with a 2 year old) I don't use a walker in public yet, but I heavily depend on shopping carts at stores. Some people are just bullies. I do what I need to do to take care of myself and keep myself safe, and try to let the haters go. I am so glad that I am not full of negativity and hate like the man Leah talks about, who blows up and yells at strangers. She is the winner in this situation, he's the loser. I hope that she keeps smiling that beautiful smile and on the day we cure FA, we can both park in the very furthest parking spot and skip and dance our way to the store.