Woman in wheelchair shares her story after driver places mean-spirited note on windshield
A LaFayette woman, who uses a wheelchair, is hoping to reach the person who left a not-so-nice note on the windshield of her van while she was visiting a Chattanooga restaurant.
She says she wants to bring awareness to the needs of people with disabilities by speaking out and getting the message across to that person who left the note chastising her for taking up two parking spaces.
Patsy Collins has been parking outside the lines for years. She has polio and relies on a wheelchair and van to get around.
"There were not any handicap wide spaces that I (need) to have for my ramp," she said.
She told Channel 3 that it's pretty common to visit a restaurant on a busy night and struggle to find parking. She often uses two spaces when one handicap spot won't work. That was the case on Sunday night when she visited the Red Lobster near Hamilton Place Mall.
"I just took two spots. When I came out, someone had put on my windshield a little coloring of a turtle. It said 'practice coloring this and maybe you can learn to stay inside the lines'," she told Channel 3. "That just made me really mad."
Collins says it isn't the first time she's received an unkind message about her parking.
"I've had things like this happen several times over the last few years. People will hand-write notes with mean things saying 'learn to drive'," she said.
She says she just wishes more people understood why handicap drivers need the extra space.
"The parking is the biggest thing, not having the space to park. Then, when there is a wide space, others not respecting the 'no parking' beside it and pull in the space anyway. Then, when you come out to get in your van, you get in you have to wait until they come out," Collins explained.
Collins posted on Facebook an apology for inconveniencing the person who left the note.
She also hopes that post will lead to more understanding.
"I put it on Facebook hoping that that person would see it and realize that he should check things out a little further before they do that to somebody," she said.
Channel 3 has reached out to Red Lobster about the flyers to see if any other drivers reported receiving one.
They referred us to the corporate office. We also checked out the flyer and found it on several websites available for free download.