The mother of a terminally ill toddler was targeted with a hateful note for parking in a disabled parking spot.
The cruel response, ultimately, demonstrates just how easy it is for people who accuse others of wrongdoing to act like monsters themselves.
Emma Doherty, 31, parked her vehicle at a disabled parking spot at Alder Hey Children’s hospital in Liverpool, England, where she takes her 3-year-old son Bobby Baldwin for doctor visits.
The little boy was born with three holes in his heart, and in his short life, he’s already undergone three open heart surgeries, as well as two stomach, lung, and diaphragm surgeries. Because of his health condition, his heart has a hard time pumping blood to his body, so walking long distances is impossible for him.
While she carried the little boy inside in her arms, she left his wheelchair in the car, along with the blue disabled badge that shows she has the right to park in the designated spot. Still, an individual thought it would be just fine to accuse her of misusing the parking spot while employing rude and vulgar language.
“You lazy conning b***h,” the note read. “You did not have a disabled person with you! These spaces are reserved for people who need them!”
After she shared a photo of the letter online, she called whoever was behind the callous note a coward.
She wrote on Facebook that she left the wheelchair in the car because she and her son were running late for their appointment, and that her son is, indeed, disabled. Except “not all disabilities are visible,” she explained.
“We were visiting the hospital as usual. When we found the note, I couldn’t believe it. It’s such a cowardly thing to do. They must have seen the badge and still decided to put the note on,” she told reporters.
“My son's disabled pass is not a con, he's actually seriously ill,” Doherty told her followers and friends on Facebook.
In the past, she said that people have given her and her son dirty looks, but that they were never attacked in this matter.
“People often look at us funny as we leave the car, but this is the first time someone has actually left anything,” she said, according to HuffPost. “Everyone needs to stop and think before acting, I hardly ever let anything upset me but this did.”
After the distressed mom shared the note on social media, many users expressed sympathy, sharing their own experiences of prejudice.
“The thing which has shocked me most is the amount of messages I have had from people who have been through something similar,” Doherty said. “My inbox is full of people who have told me they have been stared at or even spat at. This is a serious problem, and I just want it to change. I am hoping by sharing what I went through people will start to think before acting.”
On Facebook, Doherty explained that despite the horrible experience she went through, the hospital’s staff were nothing but helpful after she became upset. She also thanked her family for all the support she and her son have received.
While some individuals may feel justified in criticizing people for misusing parking spots designated to the disabled, everyone should remember that disabilities don’t all look the same.
Ignoring the various ways a health condition may impact a driver or a passenger makes the person doing the judging a bigot, which would mean they are no better than the so-called con artists they are chastising.
Banner and thumbnail image credit: Flickr user Marco Verch