A real-life handicap-parking story

I am posting this here because I was a bit shaken by some of the reactions I got from my thread about wheelchairs and airplanes, so I wanted to see what the reaction might be to this story. Now to let ppl know off the bat, this is something that I am still trying to “right”. I have appeared not only in this online article, but a print article as well. I have been on local news and nationwide internet-radio shows, trying to give this story as much publicity as possible. The step I am at now is appealing to the Dept of Justice, I have sent a comprehensive, 5-page letter detailing what I believe are a series of ADA violations on the part of this establishment. The violations started before this parking lot incident. I think I will be a bit better prepared for some of the responses this time around. :wink:

I would probably not revoke the gym membership of an asshole who intentionally blocked somebody in, but I don’t know that I’d give them any breaks either.

That’s a jerk move, handicapped or not. Get the plate # and call the cops and talk to management.

The guy parking in the handicap spot is inexcusable and he was totally wrong (see the current pit thread; almost everyone here will agree).

That said - you made a bad situation worse by escalating the conflict instead of just notifying security or calling the police in the first place.

Well see, I only parked behind him, temporarily blocking him in his spot, after repeatedly asking him to move and he kept asking me, “are you fking security?" So finally I said, "no, I’m not fking security but I guess I’ll have to go GET f**king security.” So, I pulled my car around and parked it behind his, ONLY so that when I went and got my chair out and went inside to get the PROPER authorities, this guy couldn’t go speeding off the second I disappeared inside the building. I wasnt just sitting there, in my car, behind him like, “haha, now you’re screwed buddy!” Getting a plate number is an exercise in futility.

You blocked somebody in. That’s a dick move and probably illegal to boot.

Who was wrong? Just about everybody.
The asshole for parking in the space? Oh yeah 100% wrong
The guy in the wheelchair for blocking him in? Yeah he shares a bit of blame. While I totally agree with his thought process, his actions were just a bit over the top. A cell phone photo and a report to the cops or security would have gone a lot further. Also blocking a car in might be an invitation to getting your ass kicked if you block the wrong guy.
The Gym for revoking his membership? Again 100% wrong in my opinion. If I had been the guy running the gym, I would have revoked the asshole’s (guy who parked in the HC space) membership. It would be under my gym’s don’t be a jerk rule.

Well, he had plenty of opportunity to leave. And he broke the law first. I would willingly take responsibility for any of my actions if it resulted in him also being held accountable. But that’s the kicker, he got off w/out suffering a single repercussion for his misdemeanor. And I can’t even step foot (or roll a wheel) on the property of that establishment. And you call that a dick move, but research it; it is something that is done all over the country. I have done it in other places AND called the police, leaving my car blocking the offending vehicle while I awaited the police to arrive. They told me it probably wasn’t the best idea to do such a thing, but the only one who suffered legal consequences was the person illegally parked in handicap-only parking.

So you parked in the access lane to prevent his car from leaving a handicap spot?

You’d’ve been perfectly right to record his licence plate, driver’s physical description, make and model of car, etc. and report the details, but you escalated the situation and made it worse on people that had nothing to do with the conflict. And how is any of this the establishment’s fault? Are the stores required to refuse service to someone who mis-parks? To fine the drivers? To call the cops? That last one, maybe, but I don’t get the DOJ angle.

Missed the edit window. In some communities the cops will act on a citizen report and or picture. That is why I suggested a picture.
If the cops had been really cool they would have issued the handicapped guy a $20 parking in the aisle ticket and given the asshole a $475 ticket for parking in the HC spot.

It probably depends on who owns the lot. My gym is part of a small center and has no control over the parking. The gym across the street’s parking is part of their property.

Well, okay, let’s assume the gym is the only commercial enterprise there, and it owns (not rents) the building and the entire parking lot. I honestly don’t know what their obligation is to enforce proper use of a handicapped parking spot, beyond designating such spots as required by law.

No, I didnt hinder anyone else’s coming or going in the parking lot by blocking him in. I wasn’t in any “access lane”. I was in the general parking lot. There were no cars on either side. It’s the establishments fault for taking away my membership. There is alot more to the story that warranted the “DOJ angle”, though, so I can understand being a little confused as to why I am bringing them into the picture.

I don’t know what the layout of this lot is, but I’m not sure how one car can park behind another the way you’re describing without inhibiting other cars. I’ll take your word for it that the lot was mostly empty and traffic light, so no third party was actually affected.

Well, if you look over the membership agreement I assume you signed, the club probably has a huge amount of discretion when it comes to cancelling a membership. I guess you could sue, if you wanted, but I don’t see the civil-rights angle that would interest the DOJ. I expect the club will claim they’d also cancel the membership of an able-bodied person who blocked in another mis-parked able-bodied person to make a point. The club doesn’t want members who might provoke fistfights in the parking lot. Doesn’t seem too unreasonable to me.

Big surprise there. And I’ll say it AGAIN, the reasons for bringing the DOJ in aren’t just this incident. There is more to this story. This incident simply strengthens (imo) the overall arc of the case I presented.

So you weren’t there looking for a park and one wasn’t available because this jerk pulled in there before you got there.

You’d been in the gym, came out, were pulling out of the car park, saw this guy pull in and decided to block him in?

Yeah, he’s in the wrong, but so are you. The club was perfectly entitled to take away your membership. It’s nothign to do with you being disabled and everything to do with how you comported yourself, which was in a jerkish manner.

One more thing I forgot to say, there was no possibility of a fistfight even occuring because there was no direct, person-to-person interaction btwn the two parties involved. I nver approached him, I went straight inside to get the proper authorities to handle this situation.

Don’t count on it. I’ve read the same Pit thread.

If this incident is your single strongest example, I find it lacking. What are some of the other reasons?

Jaime, I think we can all recognize that the guy was a huge asshole for parking there, but I have to ask you why you felt the need to escalate the situation? Why is being “right” so much more important to you than just going about your day, following the proper protocols, or, more broadly, trying to be happy? I can hardly imagine all that you go through as a disabled person, but I would think you’d be happier if you learned to suffer through life’s indignities and annoyances with more tact and humility. Particularly if you are trying to advocate for other disabled people. Your bitter and confrontational tone detracts from the valid points you are making, rendering you a less effective advocate.

Taking down plate numbers, filing reports, giving physical descriptions, even taking pictures, are, unfortunately, only “going through the motions” and it does not EVER result in the guilty party paying for their misdeeds. It boils down to, “he said, she said”. The party needs to be caught in the act for anything to be done. Anyone who argues with this simply does not know the reality of the matter. I live it every single day. Now where there MAY be isolated incidents or depts that are the exception, the RULE is as I’ve described it.