I’ve just been told about this rather disheartening incident involving my dad this morning.
My dad has a friend called Ray. Ray is blind and physically disabled. He has a guide dog, and uses a walking stick too. My dad has serious spinal problems and also walks with a stick. Both of them are entitled to use blue badges for disabled parking.
My dad and Ray went to McDonalds for breakfast this morning. This particular branch has just two disabled parking bays. This is not normally a problem but today when they arrived both were in use. One of the cars, though, contained a woman and a child with a blue badge on display who were sat eating food from the drive-through. My dad had to stop and let Ray and his dog out in the road and then park in a standard bay with further to walk.
My dad stopped and pointed out to the woman that she was blocking a disabled parking bay causing problems and risk for them and that this wasn’t necessary since she wasn’t getting out of the car and could therefore park in a bay further away from the restaurant. (He does this himself when he is not getting out.)
She was immediately hostile, announcing
“You don’t pay for my car.”
My dad pointed out that this wasn’t the point, but then she noticed his walking stick. At this point she actually threatened to physically hurt him, finishing with
“Walk away know while you still can, old man.”
My dad sensibly left it there.
This incident makes me sad because not only was this abuse of a disabled person but it came from the mother of a disabled child who really should know better. The rules for parking don’t explicitly state that she shouldn’t use the bay but they do say that you shouldn’t sit and wait for a non-disabled person and that consideration should be given. (See below.) Even so, she was hostile and abusive when there was no need to be. It also makes me sad that the woman’s first reaction was to defend her possession of the car, clearly related to public attacks on Motability in recent months.
Who can use the badge?
The badge is for your use and benefit only. It must only be displayed if you are travelling in the vehicle as a driver or passenger, or if someone is collecting you or dropping you off and needs to park at the place where you are being collected or dropped.
Do not allow other people to use the badge to do something on your behalf, such as shopping or collecting something for you, unless you are travelling with them.
• You must never give the badge to friends or family to allow them to park for free, even if they are visiting you.
• You should not use the badge to allow non-disabled people to take advantage of the benefits while you sit in the car. Although it is not illegal for a badge holder, or a non-disabled person waiting for the badge holder to return, to remain in the vehicle while the Blue Badge is displayed, consideration should be given to using a car park whenever possible.
• It is a criminal offence to misuse a badge. This includes people other than the badge holder taking advantage of the parking concessions provided under the scheme.