NOTE: This is the corrected-first-draft of what happened yesterday after church, when Monstro and Lex stayed behind for Lex's music-and-activities program, and I drove to Southampton to the Big Y supermarket. I'm going to send the final draft to the presiding judge.
MFM has Parkinson's disease. She uses a four-wheeled “rollater” walker. Yesterday after we'd all been to church, I decided to run to the store and asked Mom (MFM) if she'd like to come with me and BK (her two-year-old grandson).
“I might as well go with you,” MFM said. “That way, you can use the placard.”
“The Placard” is her blue handicapped-parking placard. It hangs from the rear-view mirror. It expires on June 2011 and was issued in California, though legal precedent has been established to support validity in all 50 states.
We parked in front in a blue spot so the van was immediately at the crosswalk. MFM and BK (carseated, middle row) stayed in the vehicle. I raced through Big Y in like 20 minutes because I knew already what I was going to buy cheap and freeze this week.
When I returned to the van and remotely popped the tailgate, MFM turned around from her front-row passenger seat and said, “The placard failed us.”
“What do you mean?”
“I mean a police officer came by,” she said.
“Did he give us a ticket?” I asked.
“A hundred bucks?” I asked.
“Yup,” she said.
Now, her placard isn't expired. She doesn't drive (never has in MA) so 999 times out of 1,000, she's in one of our cars. We've used this system for two years and nobody's ever had a problem with it or us or whatever.
If handicapped placards exist to keep safe those with challenged mobility, then doesn't it make sense to keep these frailer members of society front-and-center, rather than tucked away between two other cars, where it's easier for the malfeasants to take advantage of the vulnerable?
Incidentally, I am furious that a police officer felt compelled to pester and UPSET a woman with obvious medical difficulties, a woman who's only been home from two months of hospital/rehab hospital/skilled-nursing rehab for a WEEK, and is facing enough re-integration anxiety as it is, who's just sitting with her two-year-old grandson (“one of the only things” she says she can do to “contribute to the family”), while her primary-care, 24/7, in-residence daughter runs her ass off through a grocery store after church in New England, in order to feed her family over the next week, all the while praying that everyone in the car will be all right in her 20-minute absence.
Judge, please see reason and revoke this ticket; I don't have an extra hundred bucks for frivolity. If I did, I'd get a sitter and take a nap. Thank you for your clear reason and consideration.