SOAP BOX: Why do you care if people park in disabled spaces?

PEOPLE love to get angry about those who park in spaces reserved for people with disabilities but don't look disabled.

At least once a week there's an online news story floating around cyberspace about an outraged defender of the disabled space who's let loose on some poor unsuspecting person.

Usually an angry note is left under the windscreen, an attempt to shame the seemingly fraudulent parker into never doing it again.

Then the come-back: the driver has an invisible joint condition that prevents them walking without excruciating pain, so they are perfectly entitled to use the space.

I don't know why we love to hate people who park in disabled spaces.

We just do.

So why do able-bodied people feel entitled to take accessible seating at the cinema? There's probably fewer than 10 seats in the only row in the theatre without stairs, so I was surprised to find them all booked when I went to see the Revenant with my freshly broken leg.

The theatre was not full - no-where near. And, at the risk of falling into the same trap as our helpful parking space defenders, not a single person sitting in them needed to be there.

When I was a teenager, I'd go to the Blue Mountains every school holidays to visit my cousin who had muscular dystrophy.

We'd book tickets a week in advance to make sure we could sit together with space for his wheelchair. Even then we'd have to have awkward discussions with people who'd taken the seats and didn't want to move.

Maybe the reason people defend disabled parking spaces is not because they care, but because they aren't allowed to park there and they're damned if anybody else will.

Topics:  cinema disability parking sunshine coast

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