Sorry to Inform This Twitter User, but People in Wheelchairs Have Lives

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by Kevin Schaefer |

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internet, social media, lives

Kevin Embracing my inner alien

Twitter is an interesting place. On one hand, it provides a platform for me to share the things I love with like-minded people and to connect with other internet and pop-culture addicts. I love waking up in the morning to memes, witty one-liners, movie conversations, and whatever shows up on Shia LaBeouf’s feed.

Yet for all the entertainment I find on social media, what would the internet be without a big pile of ignorance?

Now, normally I ignore internet trolls, and I understand that they only represent a portion of the human population. Still, this tweet grabbed my attention, and not in a positive way:

“Disabled parking should only be valid during business hours 9 to 5 Monday to Friday. I cannot see any reason why people with genuine disabilities would be out beyond these times.

At first, I wondered if this was a parody account, but then I visited this person’s page to find many other ignorant and bigoted comments about pretty much every minority. Unsurprisingly, this user received an abundance of backlash from people with disabilities and pretty much anyone with a brain and a dose of compassion.

This was the user’s response after being told that people with disabilities have lives like everyone else and need accessible parking past 5:

“I have received a number of nasty messages from the disabled community in the last 24hrs regarding my stance on a proposed ban of them using vehicles after 5pm. Let me just say I won’t be bullied by a gang of losers on mobility scooters or wheelchairs.”

Again, I don’t normally engage trolls, and I’m not including this person’s username in this article, but I have to say that I’m sad that this person possesses such ignorant views. I want to make sure people know that those of us with disabilities do need accommodations in order to live our lives. Around-the-clock accessible parking is one of those accommodations.

Maybe this person just doesn’t think that people with disabilities have lives? If that’s the case, let me just list a few of the social things I’ve done recently, most of which were after 5. In the last couple weeks, I’ve gone to two house parties, a food truck rodeo, church, a baseball game, several movie theaters, restaurants, my local comic shop, and a Shakespeare reading put on by a theater troupe in my hometown. I’m missing the part where I’m supposed to just stay at home because I’m in a wheelchair.

Needless to say, all of those things would have been extremely difficult for me to go to without accessible parking. I’d love for this Twitter user to try to get me out of my van at any of these events with no handicapped spots.

And as far as the idea that there be no accessible parking before 9 a.m., what do you expect all the wheelchair-users who have to get to work or school before that time to do? When I was in high school, classes started before 8 a.m., and there were times in college when I had early-morning classes as well. I guess we should all just rearrange our lives and schedules to fit this person’s hilariously ignorant proposal.

Also, I’m willing to bet that a tiny inconvenience is what led this person to making this proposal. Maybe they had to park in a spot that was a bit out of the way when there was a nice handicapped spot right in front of the building. Well, guess what? Those of us with disabilities deal with inconveniences all the time. Whether it’s someone who parks in the handicapped spot who has no business being there, or even better, someone who parks in the white space next to the handicapped spot and prevents us from getting out of our cars; we deal with this stuff all the time.

If by chance the Twitter user is reading this, I want them to know that I’m not mad. However, I do hope that their attitude and views might change. It may come as a shock to this person, but those of us with disabilities actually do have lives, and I don’t think a little accessibility is too much to ask.


Note: SMA News Today is strictly a news and information website about the disease. It does not provide medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment. This content is not intended to be a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment. Always seek the advice of your physician or other qualified health provider with any questions you may have regarding a medical condition. Never disregard professional medical advice or delay in seeking it because of something you have read on this website. The opinions expressed in this column are not those of SMA News Today, or its parent company, BioNews Services, and are intended to spark discussion about issues pertaining to spinal muscular atrophy.


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