The handicapped space

Was working at Cosi yesterday when I saw someone I know run into the restaurant for a to-go lunch. Her brother, meanwhile, waited in the car—in a handicapped spot.

On the one hand, the motor was running and the person was inside for, oh, 10 minutes (there was a line). On the other hand, it sorta strikes me as crap. Even if its vacant 90% of the time, the handicapped space is there for a single reason—handicapped people.

What do you think? Is it OK to use the space if someone remains in the car? If it’s only for a minute or two?

Genuinely curious.

16 thoughts on “The handicapped space”

  1. This is pretty clearly not OK. How is the person sitting in the car supposed to know that the car circling in the parking lot behind him is a handicapped person looking for a spot to park?

  2. Agree with everyone else–NO! Was at Blockbuster once where a guy with no handicapped sticker parked in a handicapped spot. Guy with a disability (and a car with handicap plates) drove up, parked the other guy in so he couldn’t leave, and went into the store to find him. Priceless!!

  3. Not OK, but in my limited experience, NA is one of the most civil places for handicapped spots. Not that there aren’t abuses, but in South America, you have to put barriers for people not to park there.

  4. I live in a building where a neighbor drives a brand new ford mustang, has a handicapped symbol on his plate and walks perfectly normal. The symbol is of someone in a WHEELCHAIR!!!! There is a reason that is the universal symbol and why it’s not of a doctor filling out the paperwork.

  5. Hot Wheels,
    Some people don’t look to be handicapped but are. Heart problems being one common handicap.
    That being said I have seen people that have a handicapped pass, because of someone in the home, but use it even when the handicapped person is not with them.
    Just plain wrong.
    Makes me angry type wrong.
    When my mother had cancer, she had the right to use handicapped spaces but wouldn’t unless there was no other place within reason. She always felt someone else probably needed it more than she did.

  6. @jmv Then those folks with heart problems need another type of identification. One of the most overlooked features of a handicapped (and I mean “real” handicapped) spaces is that they are larger than regular parking spaces. This allows for extra room and the extra time it takes folks who are “really” handicapped to get themselves and their wheelchairs out of the vehicles.
    Being Fat is a lifestyle choice and it should not entitle you to “better” parking spaces.

  7. Hot,
    When my mother first had cancer she couldn’t walk far, looking at her you wouldn’t have known she was terminally ill.
    She qualified for handicapped but was willing to walk a little further because she felt others were more handicapped. She always considered herself more fortunate.
    Another cancer victim maybe wasn’t able to do what she did.
    “Handicapped” can mean an assortment of issues, many are not seen by the human eye.
    Some people do need to work off the fat. Some medical conditions, such as a hypoactive thyroid, cause weight gain. It isn’t always a lifestyle choice. Don’t jump to conclusions too quickly.
    While handicapped spaces do allow access for wheelchairs that is not the only handicap that is allowed to park there.
    These parking places are for multiple handicaps.

  8. Should have added, sometimes a handicap interferes with a lifestyle so much that it causes the weight gain.
    When I was in my 20’s I injured my back, it caused such pain down my leg it literally crippled me for 3 weeks. Mine was only temporary but opened my eyes to how fragile we can be.

  9. @jmw I cannot tell you how many times I have had to sit and wait for a handicapped space to become available only to have a person come out, walking perfectly fine WHILE carrying packages and see them comfortably get in the driver’s seat and drive away. These people like beating the system and as long as they pay for it, their doctor’s happily fill out the form to get them “fake” handicapped tags. These people should be “forced” to use wheelchairs if they want the tags. Unlike them, I do NOT have a choice as I am confined to a wheelchair for LIFE!!!!!

  10. Hot
    I can understand that, I’m not so sure it is “fake” tags as much as it abusers of tags, and maybe forgers.
    I know for a certainty that often the healthy will still use the space when the person the tag was issued for isn’t even with them. I have had clients tell me that is what they did.
    While I may have wanted to say something, I was working for an employer at that time and felt shackled.
    I also know of someone with a serious handicap that you would not have noticed. Heart conditions are very real, they are just considered handicapped and are allowed to park in a handicapped spot.
    I understand your frustration, and I think abusers should not only be ticketed but have their license suspended, even if only for a week.

  11. Wheels,
    While I do understand your frustration I think you are being a bit to judgmental, or perhaps not. Just how you seem to come across.
    Being confined to a wheelchair is enough of an inconvenience you should be given special consideration.
    Some people need these spots not only because of convenience, but it is a matter of necessity.
    For instance if special wheelchair spaces were placed at the back of the lot you could use them. Some can not walk that far.
    In Shelton, WA there is a man named Sam that is not only confined to a motorized wheelchair but he has a great deal of diffuculty speaking, his injury is that extreme. He can’t drive but goes all over town.
    If you go to the following web page
    http://arthritis.about.com/od/driving/a/handicapparking.htm
    there is a listing of the Laws in each State.
    I live in Oregon:
    801.387 “Person with a Disability” means:
    1. A person who has severely limited mobility because of paralysis or the loss of use of some or all of the person’s legs or arms;
    2. A person who is affected by loss of vision or substantial loss of visual acuity or visual field beyond correction; or
    3. A person who has any other disability that prevents the person from walking without the use of an assistive device or that causes the person to be unable to walk more than 200 feet, including but not necessarily limited to:
    a. Chronic heart condition;
    b. Emphysema;
    c. Arthritis;
    d. Rheumatism; or
    e. Ulcerative colitis or related chronic bowel disorder. [Formerly 801.235]

    Even deafness can be considered a reason in 4 States.
    Yours is a very visual handicap that doesn’t mean someone else isn’t just as, or maybe even more, handicapped than you. You just don’t see the handicap as well.

  12. No, of course it’s not okay, but as someone has said earlier, handicapped people aren’t always in a wheelchair. I have an autoimmune illness that makes my walking unsteady (I use a cane for balance) and the distance I can walk is extremely limited. If I can’t find a handicapped place or a spot near a door I have to leave. Somehow I doubt that someone walking spritely outside, with bags in each hand and jumping easily into the car, is one of those ‘hidden disabilities’

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