A British dad was fuming after a woman left a nasty note on his car shaming him for using a disabled parking space.
Paul Francis, who is originally from Northampton but now lives in Christchurch, New Zealand, had planned a family outing on Sunday at a swimming pool for his three children, including nine-year-old son Jack, who has cerebral palsy.
He claims he noticed a woman looking at them when they ran to the pool after parking in a disabled car park, before she allegedly left a note on his windscreen blasting him for using a disability badge.
When Jack returned to the car he was devastated to find the crushing note, leading customer service manager Paul to take to social media to call the woman out in a viral post.
“Even though I have a permit to park there and I have every right to park there as a caregiver of Jack, I was blown away by it,” Paul, 49, said.
“He [Jack] said ‘she’s just an idiot, Dad. Because she doesn’t know.’ But I said ‘no, people assume and don’t know about your disability’.
“Then he just went quiet and you could see him reflecting on people’s actions and behaviour and it brings his own disability back to the front of his mind, after we just had fun in the pool.
“And that’s when the disappointment comes in. In one respect what the woman did was brave, but it’s cowardly in another sense.
“Jack struggles with his motor skills on his right-hand side and we’ve had various different treatments for mobility.
“For the untrained eye, they wouldn’t see anything wrong with him until they go to shake his hand and realise he has no strength in his arm.”
Outraged Paul said he posted the note on Facebook to call out the woman to come forward so he could educate her about different disabilities.
He hopes the attention the post has attracted will help educate people to stop discrimination against disabled people.
And Paul pulled no punches with the “cowardly” woman, blasting her on Facebook for her ill-informed note.
Paul wrote on Facebook: “Due to the nature of my son’s disability he gets very tired after physical activity…like swimming… so this is why I parked where I did.
“To the woman who left this …shame on you for a cowardly attack that my son found on the windscreen.
“All you did was make him sad and sap his confidence on an already demanding condition….. and all because you assumed you thought you were doing the right thing.
“All you have done is make a a** of yourself in the eyes of a nine-year-old boy who is disgusted you have belittled all the doctors appointments and surgery he has had.
“There are so many people with different conditions that aren’t apparent to everyone but they need those disability permits.
“I don’t want to run the woman down, I just want her to understand that disabilities come in all shapes and sizes.”
The father says the Rangiora swimming pool has been a fantastic help to Jack, supporting him in his ongoing physio and reached out to offer their support following the incident.
“The pool’s management team accepts our Cerebral Palsy Society vouchers that we get given and they go out of their way to tailor Jack’s swimming lessons to his needs,” Paul said.