Aunt Dandelion is an advice blog offered to help readers solve simple or perplexing problems related to social and business etiquette. Ask Aunt Dandelion when you have a problem, and check back soon for answers. Send your conundrums to Or follow Aunt Dandelion on Facebook!

Suspect handicap parkers get his dander up

I have a pet peeve: If you park in the handicap spot and I see you walk to/from your car without a visible sign of a physical reason to do so, then I will provide one for you. I’m a card-carrying member of the Follow-the-Rules club, so I’d be remiss in my duties if I simply ignored it. - Ken in Dallas, TX
Aunt Dandelion answers:

It is laudable that you wish to protect the accessible spaces for the use of those who really need them, but there is a worrying level of aggression in your note.

Not everyone who uses an accessible space has a visible handicap. Aunt Dandelion once went to a restaurant with a friend who has a prosthetic leg. A couple coming out of the restaurant failed to notice the special license plate on his car, and since he appeared to be a healthy adult, they began abusing him verbally, pouring out their anger and scorn. They were in the wrong, but didn’t know it.

Many people require accessible parking for invisible conditions, including heart disease, epilepsy, and prosthetic limbs. Of course these people should have proper tags in or on their vehicle in order to utilize the designated spaces, but it is best not to accost someone even if you are not sure if they have a right to the parking spot. Hanging tags can be forgotten, left in another car, and so on.

Aunt Dandelion counsels: If a situation seems truly worrying, please inform the management of the establishment that owns the parking lot, and let them investigate.

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