A mother of a young daughter with a serious breathing condition has spoken of her shock at being told her two-year-old ‘does not look disabled’ in a Blue Badge parking row.
Rachael Hanley, 22, was horrified when she returned to her Renault Scenic following a day out shopping to find the handwritten note from an angry female motorist.
The heartless note was slapped on her windscreen despite having already explained to the shopper that her daughter was disabled when confronted two hours earlier.
The note said Rachael had been reported for misusing a Blue Badge on Thursday last week – and advised she should bring a wheelchair for her daughter, Evie-Mae next time.
The note read (sic): ‘I have reported you for miss using a blue badge. Your daughter did not look or appear disabled.
‘Hope your car is clamped. Next time bring a wheelchair.’
To make matters worse, the tot unexpectedly began ‘fitting and vomiting’ when they returned to the car and was left needing ‘basic life support’ following a full body shaking seizure.
Youngster Evie-Mae Pinkney, who was born on Valentine’s Day, has apnea of infancy – an unexplained episode of cessation of breathing for 20 seconds or longer.
The disease means she has pauses in her breathing when she sleeps and the tot can need rapid access to oxygen.
She also suffers from seizures – which trigger tiredness – that can be brought on spontaneously and without warning.
Rachael had parked at Meadowhall, Sheffield, South Yorks., with her two children during a shopping trip to buy Evie-Mae some new shoes and a hot chocolate when she was confronted by the abusive woman.
The stay-at-home carer provided an explanation, before locking her car and leaving to go shopping, but returned to find the note tucked under the windscreen wiper.
Rachael, from Rotherham, said: ‘She said you cannot park there unless you are disabled, she got quite irate and aggressive. I locked the car and went into Meadowhall, we were gone for around two hours.
‘Evie-Mae is quite forward and is aware of people’s feelings. She asked why was I crying, and ‘why is that woman shouting at you?’.
‘How do you explain to a two-year-old what is going on?
‘When we got back to the car Evie-Mae had a full body shaking seizure, the only advice we have is to put her in the recovery position to make sure her airways are not blocked.
‘After the seizure, I put her into her car seat and that’s when I realised what was on the windscreen.’
Evie-Mae, who turns three in February, was diagnosed with apnea of infancy aged around six months but can often present as a child who is well.
The tot has been given CPR, including chest compressions and mouth-to-mouth on six separate occasions.
She suffers an average of one seizure a week but her mum says they used to be daily.
Rachael added: ‘The reason we have the Blue Badge is because we have to carry portable oxygen at all times and the equipment can be quite bulky…
‘Some disabilities aren’t always visible. Some people are old-fashioned and would expect Evie-Mae to be a wheelchair if she has a Blue Badge.’
Infant apnea is defined as ‘an unexplained episode of cessation of breathing for 20 seconds or longer, or a shorter respiratory pause associated with bradycardia, cyanosis, pallor, and/or marked hypotonia’.
Government guidelines state parents of children under three years old can apply for the badge if the child needs to ‘be kept near a vehicle at all times’ with bulky medical equipment needed.