Unfiltered Story #101130

, , | Unfiltered | December 6, 2017

I lost my lower left leg in a car accident years ago and now use a prosthetic. Even though I have a disabled plate and placard I don’t always need to park in a handicap spot. I only use those spots on my bad days when I experience ghost pains or pain in the area of the amputation and have trouble walking or standing on that leg for a prolonged length of time. However when you see me, unless I’m wearing shorts or a dress, you can’t tell I have a prosthetic leg and I may look “normal” to people. On those bad days the only tell-tale sign may be a little limp at most but nothing too obvious.

On one bad day that I needed to use a handicap spot an employee who was taking a smoking break outside the store took it upon herself to confront me in the parking lot after I got out of my car and accused me of not being handicap, that I didn’t deserve to park in that spot and that I should be ashamed because I was abusing the system and that I was just being lazy. She even threatened to call the police and even said someone on disability couldn’t afford the kind of car I had.

Note: just because someone is disabled doesn’t automatically mean they’re on disability or can’t work.

By now people were watching her ranting and some actually agreed with her or just watched. I tried to explain just because I don’t look handicap doesn’t mean I’m not but nothing helped. Now, I’m not embarrassed of injury but I am a little self-conscious of it when it becomes the center of attention. So even though I didn’t have to, I raised my pants leg to show the prosthetic.

I have never seen a group of idiots shut up so fast. The employee who started it all just said, “Whatever! Not my fault!” and walked back into the store without even apologising. Most of the small crowd of people who were agreeing with her walked away too. Most without saying a word, others just laughed it off like it was a joke. Only one person had the decency to say sorry for assuming.

Situations like this has happened a handful of times over the years and I normally I would have just let it go because the accuser usually apologises and get’s a lesson on not judging a book by it’s cover etc. but not this time. Not after what she said about it not being her fault. Whether she meant she wasn’t at fault for accusing me for not being handicap or not at fault for my injury, I wasn’t going to just let it go this time.

I went into the store and to the service desk and reported her and they sent for the manager. I explained again to him what happened and he called the employee up to the service desk and when she saw me, before the manager even said a word she started defending herself, almost yelling something like, “It’s not my fault she doesn’t look like a gimp!” (yes she said gimp) “I didn’t know! Look at her! She doesn’t even need a wheelchair or nothing! She doesn’t even look it! Why should she park there?! Why is everyone mad at me!?”

After she finally finished her tirade, the manager had her go to his office and they would “talk about her behavior”. He turned to me and apologised profusely and ended up giving me a $50 gift certificate for the store. I did tell him I wasn’t blaming the store but would appreciate it if he could train the employees about those of us who are disabled and about hidden disabilities and not to just assume things. Whether or not the manager did that I don’t know but he did seem genuinely concerned that one of his employees would say such things and that he would look into it.

I’m not one for being that customer who’s always looking for freebies because I use to work in retail and understand but I didn’t mind getting that $50 gift certificate.

PS: I don’t know what happened to that employee but since that day I never saw her there again and it’s been over a year.

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