A busy Saturday morning.
Traffic like you wouldn’t believe. Cars, cars and more cars. Anybody would think it was a holiday! I must find a parking space. For goodness sakes, all I need to do is run into that shop and pick some shampoo. Where is a frigging space?….. Ah…there’s one! No!….Hey, no, I’m taking it! I don’t believe it! He has just swerved in and has taken MY parking!
PAAAAARRP!!! “Yes, I am hooting at you, OAF!!!”
Okay…okay, calm down, Gaynor! Let’s drive round here, there’s sure to be another parking….somewhere…no…can’t see one…I mustn’t get into a state. I know, I’ll sing! That always calms me down. Um…..’ Oh, what a beautiful morning, oh what a beautiful day, I’ve got a beautiful feeling, everything’s going my way..‘ Damned silly song! Obviously written before the times of traffic jams and looking for parking! Oh, wait! There’s a Disabled Parking space right outside the hair dresser. I will just park there for five minutes at the most. It’s just sitting there, vacantly grinning at me. There isn’t anyone ‘disabled’ who needs it at the moment. In any case, I can feel a cramp coming on in my left leg. That’s a disability! Yep, I’m going to take it…..
How many times has a similar thought gone through your mind? I am glad to say that I didn’t nab the Disabled Parking that day.
Now I am disabled. Even if I were allowed to drive, I still wouldn’t qualify for the disabled parking. I am still able to move fine, I just can’t see well enough to put me behind a driver’s wheel. My mother qualifies and has duly got a Disabled Badge. This hangs merrily from her rear view mirror literally pulling a tongue at all the other cars who have to drive on past the Disabled Parking.
She had to get a letter from the doctor stating that she has a problem walking. This letter was then taken to the traffic department where she was issued with her Disabled Badge.
Recently, my friend, Jan, was loading her groceries onto her Scooter. Next to her were two disabled parking spaces. Parked across the two parkings bays was a stationary van. The van door was open but there didn’t seem to be anyone about. Jan looked inside and saw that it was full of flowers. She turned as she heard footsteps behind her.
“Can I help you?” asked a woman leaning into the van to collect a few bunches of flowers. Without waiting for a reply she left the van and bustled inside. Jan placed herself in front of the door as the woman returned.
“Would you mind moving? You’re in my way!” the woman snapped at Jan.
“Sure, I’ll move providing you do the same,” was Jan’s calm response. “That sign says Disabled Parking.You have parked not in one disabled bay but you have taken up two.”
“And what’s wrong with that? Nobody’s using them,” was the angry retort.
“Nobody can use them with your van there. I regularly give disabled people lifts and we truly rely on those parking spaces.”
“I won’t be much longer,” the woman replied. “you’ll just have to wait!”
That’s what makes me so mad. No apology. No embarrassment.
If only Jan had known, there is now a solution to situations like hers. People who see red when drivers park illegally in disabled bays can now have those cars removed by calling 086-167-2226. The South African Community Action Network will contact the shopping centre’s management or the police to remove vehicles from bays designed for disabled drivers.
“When a member of the public calls with a description and the location of the vehicle, the duty manager will contact the shopping centre and tell management to move the vehicle,” network spokesman Lachlan Nicholson said. “If the centre management ignores the call, the police will be summoned.”
Yes, we have clamps and now a telephone hotline which are an effective way of curbing illegal parking. But, what happens when your law makers take advantage of their status and breach the very laws they are meant to uphold?
A friend told me of a traffic police car which had parked in a disabled parking outside a butchery. Inside he confronted the policeman about it. The policeman turned from paying for his steak and leaned towards my friend: “Watch it, ek sal jou opvok!” (I will f–k you up!)
I was totally delighted to learn about what a group of Russians have done in a huge Mall car park. Apparently more than 30% of abled drivers in Russia take up disabled parking. Dislife, a non-profit organisation, came up with a powerful campaign to stop motorists doing this. They installed projections of a real disabled person that popped up every time a non-disabled driver tried to park in their space. Special cameras verified the presence of the disabled sticker on the windshield and if no sticker was detected up sprang the hologram to confront the driver. Click on the picture below (or this link http://youtu.be/DUfcNNv3g68) to see these disabled ghosts for yourself.
I applaud Dislife!