DEAR ABBY: I suffered a serious accident at work and have endured numerous surgeries, with another on the horizon. Because the injuries are in the cervical and lumbar areas, they are not visible.
Last week, I parked my car in a handicapped spot in the supermarket parking lot. Having a proper tag on my license plate, I didn't think twice about it. As I entered the store, a woman who had parked nearby started shouting at me, saying I shouldn't have parked where I did. I indicated she should read my plate, to which she then replied that I was "phony" for taking advantage of the system. I imagine she thought this because I was walking unaided that day.
Abby, please inform your readers that not all injuries are visible and not to assume that someone is taking advantage because he or she doesn't meet your expectations of how a disabled person "should" appear.
- Hurting in Northern California