Save Our Space

Dr. Nanette Bowles

Save Our Space
By Nanette Bowles

A frail, elderly woman with a heart condition drives around a store parking lot trying to find a reserved parking space close to the entrance.  Just as she finds one, a person pulls in, hangs up a stolen parking placard and races into the store.

 A family looks forward to the seeing their favorite movie but find that the accessible seating areas are occupied by individuals who’ve propped up their feet and spread out through the space. 

A young disabled veteran quickly wheels himself to a family restroom, knowing his spinal cord injury affects his ability to control his bladder.  He finds the door locked for several minutes until a mother comes out with a young child.

What do these people have in common?  One group had choices and the other did not. 

Most of us would prefer the closest parking spaces, the roomy accessible seating boxes, the larger family restrooms or stalls.  There are almost 7 million Americans of individuals with disabilities who would prefer not to need these spaces but often have no choice. 

At what point do we see past our own preferences to those who have fewer choices?  This is not a plea for pity, mind you, but for equality.  Equality to park, play, and even pee!