Christine McGuinness says she is regularly challenged on parking in disabled bays. Her husband, actor and Top Gear presenter Paddy McGuinness, yesterday vented on Twitter about a stranger who had confronted the family outside of a play centre for not "looking disabled" and using a space.
The couple are parents to six-year-old twins Leo and Penelope, who are autistic, and hold a disabled parking badge. They also have a younger daughter, Felicity, three, who Christine has said has displayed signs of being on the autism spectrum.
Christine appeared on BBC Breakfast today where she told hosts how this was not a rare occurrence for her to be challenged as she deals with it "every weekend".
The 31-year-old shared: "I deal with this every weekend. Normally my husband isn't there, this time I'm glad he was because the man who approached us was clearly quite angry about the situation. Where as, most of the time people will approach me with the children they'll question 'why are you parked in this space? This is a disabled space'. I try and educate people as much as I can.
"I'll take any opportunity to tell people about autism because I think it's the only way that we can really help people understand and most of the time people are quite calm they'll apologise, they'll say 'I'm sorry' and they'll leave me alone but in this instance, thank god my husband was there because the man was not going to let it go.
“He continued to point out that none of us looked disabled, we were mobile, we shouldn't be parked there.
"So yeah we tried to explain but yeah he was quite aggressive so thank god my husband was there to deal with it."
Paddy, 46, described the man who had approached him and his family as an "ignorant tool" in a seven-part message to Twitter.
He went on to claim that the stranger himself was also parked in a disabled bay, and that if the situation were to happen a few years ago the outcome would be "very different".
The Take Me Out host explained: "He’d be on his arse and putting a call in to the tabloids. I would’ve been vilified and labelled a thug. My wife and children would’ve been upset and I’d more than likely be out of a job. #ignorance.
"I’m so glad I took that deep breathe and handled the situation calmly. I feel better for it and hopefully that ignorant person might think twice next time or indeed learn that all disabilities are different. #ignorance."