Justine Van Den Borne was left dumbstruck when she returned to her car after shopping with her daughter at the Mitcham Shopping Centre in Melbourne, Australia. She had parked in a handicap spot and found a note on her windshield that read “Did you forget your wheelchair?” The note was clearly placed above her disabled person’s parking permit. Justine wrote an open letter response on Facebook that’s powerfully sobering.
To person that left this on my car last week at Mitcham Shopping Centre- I was diagnosed with Multiple Sclerosis when I was 35. Not just MS but the worst one that never goes away and is slowly crippling my life. My kids have had to deal with things that kids shouldn’t ever have to deal with and all of our futures are forever changed. On the day you saw me I was having a good day, I was walking with my daughter unaided having a nice day. Thank you for ruining that. You made me feel like people were looking at me, the exact way I feel when I can’t walk properly. I am sick of people like yourself abusing me on my good days for using a facility I am entitled to. A disability doesn’t always mean a person has to be wheelchair bound but lucky for you I one day will be. Right now my focus is to walk into my best friends wedding next September and not have to be pushed. I will be 42. Before you ruin another persons day remember you don’t know everything and just because you can’t see it it doesn’t mean a person isn’t struggling to put one foot in front of the other.”
Her message was heard on Facebook and dozens of other people suffering from similar disabilities offered their support. Remember her story the next time you start to judge someone. It’s easy to make assumptions based on appearances, but those assumptions are rarely accurate.