Thursday 25 October 2012

once more unto the breach..?

So I eventually received a response to my LinkedIn fury from the other week.

Actually, I got a response over a week ago - since then I've been slowly chewing over my options.

First up, I got this response who from the guy that prompted my initial message (hereafter known as Mr Reasonable):

Steve, would that the person in this instance behaved exactly as you do, articulating your needs in response to a particular situation to enable a service provider to ensure that one is able to enjoy equality of access to a service. As you say in this instance, no opportunity to understand how one might offer a service was offered, only a citation of the DDA which could only be addressed by immediately granting tickets ahead of everyone else. We have mechanisms in place to respond positively in precisely the situations that you personally describe but were never given the chance. Reasonable?

Fair enough I thought (but I don't really get why this comment gets 'thumbs' - what gives? No 'thumb-love' for the righteously-peeved disabled person?)

Anyway, a couple of minutes later, this appeared:

Sadly as in other aspects of life there are many who abuse disabled access, Birmingham NEC has introduced charges for disabled parking for this reason. The other night I attended the cinema and watched a middle age couple park in the nearest disabled parking bay, place a disabled badge in the wind screen before rushing away up a stopped esculator, I assume abusing use of non present elderly relative/child parent badge?

Gaah! Just When I Thought I Was Out, They Pull Me Back In!

So this is where we are – I’m weighing up whether I really need to get myself embroiled in this.

Below is the response that I would send if YOU, DEAR READER deem this to be a sensible use of my time:

Matthew - yes that sounds reasonable.

But as we're all – in one way or another – working in Customer-facing environments, and as some of us may also be publicly-funded, my issue was with the language you used in this group - which implied an attitude and a lack of awareness that was unfortunately mirrored in Roger's subsequent comment.


I know this is a closed forum but (ta-daah!) I’m a disabled Marketing Professional and I'M reading it so there's at least one of us.

It took me a long time to get up the courage to use my disabled parking permit and i do get the odd dirty look when i park in a disabled bay. I’m not a wheelchair user yet and on my good days I can pass for 'normal'.

People’s conditions can fluctuate - I know that mine does. Also DISABILITY does not automatically mean WHEELCHAIR USER.

However, I am entitled to use my parking pass without being judged or (God forbid) being abused if i walk into a building normally after parking.

If someone holds a lift for me, I’ll try to get to it as quickly as possible - that's just being polite, isn't it? Should I hobble slowly from my Blue Badge space (ideally using my walking stick for added effect) so people don't assume that I’m abusing the system?

Or should people:

a) Give me the benefit of the doubt in a 'there but for the grace of God' kind-of way
b) Mind their own business

I know this is wildly 'off-topic' for this group. BUT we should all be careful about the language that we use, even in non-public environments.

So what do you think should I publish this comment? Or should I let it alone?


  1. on the one hand, you'd be a lot better off letting the whole thing quietly drop. On the other hand, who the hell am I fooling with that kind of advice? PUBLISH AND BE DAMNED. It's what I'd do. You'll never change their minds, but you'll sure feel better.
    (although, walking away means you can stop checking that post!)

    1. Thanks - am somewhat torn about it all. I feel better formulating the response, even if I don't post it. Comments on Twitter have been overwhelmingly of the "publish publish publish" bent... We shall see!

  2. I keep meaning to delete my linkedin profile. I'm pretty sure I don't want to be the kind of person who has a profile there. Social Networking for business? Who are they fooling?

  3. Oh man this is a toughy. My first instinct is to post it. Raise a riot. I am in the same boat as you, I have a parking placard. I use it when/if I need it. And frankly sure, there have been times when I've "abused" it. Call it a perk to having multiple auto immune diseases.

    Part of me goes...this is activism. This is where we teach people not to judge and that invisible illnesses are real and stop fucking making assumptions on what you see.

    Then..I breathe for a minute and think this. Is a war of big words on a professional site going to get you anywhere? I think you response is well thought out, and well intentioned but I wonder how those on the other side of the health spectrum will read it? Chances are, you're going to look like another whiny patient.

    Sure I think there are people out there who abuse the parking. I mean, I KNOW there are. There always will be people who abuse good government systems that help other people, (welfare, unemployment, ect). However,I won't lie...even me, health activist nut job me, sees people park sometimes and makes assumptions about whether or not they should be there. But you better believe I am waiting for the day someone calls me out when I need to use mine.

    I think as "disabled" folk we have a tendency to be a little sensitive and defensive (as we should be). But I think what I have learned through all of my internet "wars" is that you pick you battles. I think you should respond to the post. But I think it should be in a way that shows them you agree with them in the sense that abusing these aids is shitty. That all those do gooder healthy people SHOULD be pissed. But that we, as the people who need the help, are equally as pissed. That we deserve the same rights as the healthy people, and the help that we may or may not get, and the people who abuse such things and screw it up for all of us, piss us off too.