It’s all about respect and simple courtesy — two traits which seem to be harder to find.
Today’s “Can You Believe It?” story is found in Wichita when a physically challenged driver was unable to secure a handicap parking spot near a restaurant.
Tiffany Nickel is a quadriplegic and uses a motorized wheelchair. It takes plenty of space and time to leave her van equipped with a ramp that comes out of the side of the vehicle.
The elementary school teacher parked in two regular spaces. The Americans with Disability Act, state law and city ordinances allow for handicapped drivers to park in two regular parking spaces if there are no handicapped spaces available.
When she returned, her car had been damaged with a key with a note on the windshield saying, “You just got keyed for parking this way — here’s your sign.”
The vandal did not understand that there was a good reason why Nickel used two parking spots. But causing damage to someone else’s property is simply wrong.
“My initial reaction was pure shock that somebody would vandalize someone else’s vehicle just for taking two spots,” said Nickel.
Nickel is a determined person who does not let her physical disability keep her from achieving her goals.
She teaches at Wichita’s Chisholm Trail Elementary and has served as Miss Wheelchair Kansas. She has competed in the Miss Wheelchair America pageant. The contest recognizes the achievements of the women and their advocacy for people with disabilities.
“We make an every day choice to overcome our disability and overcome the obstacles that we face daily,” Nickel said. “If we inspire you by chance, then that’s great.”
It’s too bad the vandal wasn’t taught to be respectful of other’ people’s property.
Had he inquired in the restaurant about who was taking up two parking spots, Nickel would’ve been glad to meet him and teach him a simple courtesy lesson.