Friday, November 12, 2010

A Gentle Reminder - Don't Assume

I read this today on the editorial page of the Racine Journal Times...
Don't assume

On Nov. 5, at about 12:30 p.m., my fiancé and I went to pick up lunch at Subway on Lathrop Avenue. When I got back to my truck, I noticed a piece of paper on my windshield. The note read, "Which one of you is handicapped?"

I really would have wished you would have left me your name and phone number, so I could have answered your question and curiosity. For your answer, that would be me. I am an amputee. I didn't know I had to wear something to advertise my disability. I am trying to forget that awful accident that I was involved in three years ago and I am now finally learning to live with the fact that I am an amputee. Thanks to people like you, people who make me feel like I am doing something wrong by parking in a handicap parking spot. A parking spot that reminds me of everything I've gone through, every time I park my vehicle, mind you, with a handicap permit present. I guess I should take it as a compliment. So, I hope now, you have gotten your answer and your conscience is clear. I hope you can sleep better at night. So next time you decide to put another letter on someone's car or truck, be careful. Do not assume.

Ramona Barrientes

I will confess that I've gotten upset when I see people with no obvious handicap parking in the designated parking places. Now, I'm certain that often times those people really are NOT handicapped, or they're using the tag meant for a relative. HOWEVER, this is a good reminder that disabilities come in all forms, and before we jump to conclusions, we might want to think for a moment.

Thank you, Ms. Barrientes, for the reminder.


  1. A guy I worked with in college, who also was my age, and went to the same school as I did had a handicapped sticker. He had a heart condition which made long distance walking sometimes difficult, and his doctor insisted on him having a sticker.

    He often times complained of people either staring at him, or actually yelling at him for taking up a handicapped space, because apparently they thought it was impossible to be both young, and have a handicap.

  2. Another VERY good example. There are SO many disabilities that can't be seen, and if one is young, then folks will just assume that they can't possibly be disabled. Quite sad, actually.

  3. And my wife will be happy to tell you that I am disabled in MANY ways.

    None qualifying for a sticker, however.