It can be very easy to make snap judgements. When jumping to conclusions, we may be missing the full picture. Disabilities come in all different types, and aren't always discernible at first glance. There are lots of handicapped individuals who are harassed for using the designated handicap parking spots because they do not look disabled!
Justine, is a 41-year-old woman who suffers from Multiple Sclerosis (MS). Because she does not appear disabled, she frequently experiences shaming over her parking choice. Justine’s disease is progressive. It started with numbness in her hands and feet at 35 and now has grown much worse.
“It’s difficult, every day it gets a little bit harder. I can’t do zips up, can’t do buttons up, probably won’t be able to drive soon and lose a bit more independence, unfortunately.”Justine shares.
But when folks see a young woman like Justine pulling into a handicapped parking spot, they automatically assume she is doing something wrong. And in their effort to shame the "offender," they are actually badgering the very community they are trying to protect!
Justine has run into this time and time again. What should have been a fun outing with her daughter was ruined. All due to finding a nasty note on her windshield from someone who didn’t know her story.
“Did you forget your wheelchair???” the note stated.
Justine finally took to Facebook to express her dismay. She hopes that her plight may help make generate awareness, prompting others to think before they act. In her post, that has since gone viral, she says,
To person that left this on my car last week at Mitcham Shopping Centre- I was diagnosed with Multiple Sclerosis when I…
Posted by Justine Van Den Borne on Monday, November 9, 2015
"To person that left this on my car last week at Mitcham Shopping Centre – I was diagnosed with Multiple Sclerosis when I was 35. Not just MS but the worst one that never goes away and is slowly crippling my life. My kids have had to deal with things that kids shouldn’t ever have to deal with and all of our futures are forever changed.
Disabilities Cannot Always Been Seen
“On the day you saw me I was having a good day, I was walking with my daughter unaided having a nice day. Thank you for ruining that. You made me feel like people were looking at me, the exact way I feel when I can’t walk properly.”
“Before you ruin another persons day remember you don’t know everything and just because you can’t see it it doesn’t mean a person isn’t struggling to put one foot in front of the other."
Justine's post has generated messages of support from all over the world. Handicap spaces are not just for those in wheelchairs. A disease can be unseen. May Justine’s post serve as a reminder of what we're told in Matthew 7:1 — "Judge not, that ye be not judged."
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