This can lead to a lack of understanding and compassion.
No one is a better example of how hurtful this misunderstanding can be than Lexi Baskin, a University of Kentucky student who’s being treated for cancer on her brain stem. Upon returning to her Jeep one day, she found it plastered with horrible flyers stating that she had absolutely no excuse for parking in a handicap spot, when she was, so clearly, “not handicapped.”
The elaborate message was shocking.
Aside from being incredibly rude and presumptuous, what was even more disturbing was how far the perpetrator went to in order to publicly shame Baskin. Perhaps the person had spotted Lexi pulling into the spot, and after merely looking at her, assumed there’s no way she’s handicapped. The offender didn’t just leave a simple note under the windshield wiper, but instead plastered flyers with unkind words all over her vehicle. The goal was obviously to unnerve and shame the college student for her “transgression.”
It would've been easy for anyone to be incredibly hurt by this display.
If you expect to hear that Baskin flew off the handle, ranting and raving about her accuser, you’d be mistaken. On top of being able to bravely battle a horrible disease, she took the incident as an opportunity to post a patient reminder on social media. That message? To remember that there are all sorts of reasons someone might be authorized to use a designated handicapped spot.
Along with photos of her car, Baskin tweeted, “Just a gentle reminder that you have no idea what is going on in other people’s lives.
She shouldn't have had to, but an explanation seemed necessary.
Baskin went on to give an account of why exactly she was using the handicapped spot. It should’ve been unnecessary, but, like we said, she’s patient.
“This is my car and I am legally allowed to park in handicap spaces due to cancer treatment and exhaustion. Just because you can’t physically observe something does not mean that a person is not feeling it. I had a grade 2 ependymoma on my brain stem. It was removed July 28th and I started radiation 5 weeks ago today.”
Understandably, the general public was a little upset.
After Baskin posted pictures of the unkind incident online, it was hard to find anyone who sympathized with the unnamed accuser. At the end of the day, most people keep the embers of kindness burning, so responses, like this one from another Facebook user summed up pretty much what everyone was thinking.
“Unless you know this person and know without a doubt they do not have a handicap you shouldn’t deface their car. Handicaps come in many shapes and sizes. Just saying.“