Handicap Parking Bust At The Seaway Mall, Shame!

I sent this letter to the editor of a local paper earlier this week…..it was a bit of a vent….thought I’d share it. Please note my use of sarcasm in the article…

If you hail from anywhere in the Niagara region then you’ve probably chuckled at the Seaway Mall’s continuous attempts to be better, bigger and let’s be honest, to not die a slow death. Just a tip for the mall admin: you might want to rub shoulders with the city of Welland parking enforcement officers if you want a bit more business.  I’ve shopped at the Seaway Mall and heck I’ve even worked there but last Friday’s events may have just made me a permanent Pen Centre shopper.

I work for a local organization that serves individuals with mental and physical disabilities. Last Friday I took one of the individuals I work with to the movies and on a rare occasion I opted to take her to the Seaway Mall Cinema instead of the other larger theatres with more comfortable seating. The car I was driving had an up to date handicapped-parking permit displayed in the windshield as usual and so I pulled into the handicapped parking spot to give plenty of room to unload the wheelchair and make an easy transfer. After the movie I headed out to the car and while pushing the individual in the wheelchair an older gentleman that was parked beside the car approached me and pointed out the parking ticket on my windshield, puzzled as to why I would have gotten a ticket when my permit was displayed in perfect view. One might think the ticket would have only been for a mere 10 or 20 dollars but the spot checked off was for a whopping 300 dollars; the fullest amount possible!

A few days later as I stood in City Hall arguing my case to the poor woman who happened to be running the parking reinforcement desk that day, she showed me the picture that was taken of the car by the parking officer who had issued the colossal ticket. I laughed and looked at her in amazement; the only part of the permit that was not being displayed was the fine print at the bottom that was slightly difficult to see because of a small tinting line across the bottom of the windshield. The lady at the desk responded to my look of shock by adding that the parking attendant was also short. I should have asked if the parking officer was below 3 feet tall, I would have just paid the money if she said yes. Luckily the parking ticket was forgiven (thank goodness for my yearly forgiveness card).

The ticket is not the point, we all get tickets for things we do or don’t deserve. Perhaps the point is that while one anal individual signs their name, making their daily ticket quota, another individual looks at the ticket and wonders why it can’t ever be easy? Really it’s not as if a person with a disability does not have enough to overcome, why don’t you just add an extra $300 and a whole lot of hassle onto their all ready too heavy load? Or why don’t you penalize the support worker because they were too busy taking care of someone, making sure they were fully supported and safe that they forgot to check to make sure the small print on the permit was over the tint line, shoot!  Are we creating a society that thinks empathetically, I’m not so sure? But I am sure of one thing, next time I head on an outing to the movies, I won’t be choosing the Seaway Mall. One more thing, maybe the city of Welland should implement a new regulation that says parking officers must be over 3 feet tall, might save the Seaway Mall another store?

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