A woman’s Facebook post about parking etiquette is going viral and her message is one we all should remember.
Most people already know that it’s wrong—not to mention illegal—to park in a spot reserved for people with disabilities if they don’t have a disability parking placard. But what they might not realize is that it’s also important to park in those spaces in the correct way, even if you have permission to park in the spot in the first place.
Rachelle Chapman was paralyzed from the chest down following a freak accident when a friend playfully pushed her into a pool at her bachelorette party in 2010.
Now, Chapman relies on a wheelchair and has used the visibility she gained from her tragic story to become a motivational speaker and to publicly advocate for equal rights for those living with disabilities. She recently took to Facebook to explain why improperly parking in a so-called handicapped spot is such a serious problem.
Have you ever noticed how many disability parking spots have diagonal lines around them? It turns out those lines serve a specific purpose. They are there so that a person who uses a wheelchair can enter, exit and lower a ramp or wheelchair lift from their vehicle.
This means if someone parks a car in a way that blocks those lines, that means the person in the disability space next to it may be unable to enter or exit their vehicle.
“What people don’t realize, is that those lines are for a ramp and/or for wheelchair users to transfer. Because of the way this person parked, I cannot get back into my car independently and it keeps me from wanting to branch out and drive on my own,” Chapman wrote.
She pleaded with people to take notice of their parking habits.
“Please, PLEASE Park within the lines,” Chapman wrote. “If you need the space on the passenger side, then back in. If you are driving a car and you have a choice between a van accessible spot and a regular accessible spot, please don’t use the van spot.”
Chapman urged her followers to like and share the post to draw greater attention to this important issue.
“I seriously need to let the world know so that this stops happening and people in wheelchairs can have as much accessibility as possible,” she wrote.
Chapman’s post has now been shared nearly 700,000 times and liked nearly 200,000 times. Hopefully people will take notice and make sure that they are parking their cars properly so that those in wheelchairs have equal access.